Animal? Vegetable? Now mineral.

All other photos in this story by Ian Connellan. On a hillside just west of the Flinders Ranges, geologist Mary Droser lounges casually on a slab of 550-million-year-old sandstone. The sun has just hit its golden afternoon angle; it illuminates squiggled lines in the rocks, throwing into sharp contrast some of the earliest evidence for … Continue reading Animal? Vegetable? Now mineral.

Searching for the dawn of animal life

Drone footage courtesy of Associate Prof Diego C. García-Bellido (South Australian Museum/University of Adelaide). If you climbed down through the branches of the evolutionary tree, from child to parent for countless generations, you would eventually meet the greatest-grandparent of us all. But when did that animal evolve? And would we know it when we saw … Continue reading Searching for the dawn of animal life

Animal? Vegetable? Now mineral.

If you climbed down through the branches of the evolutionary tree, from child to parent for countless generations, you would eventually meet the greatest-grandparent of us all. But when did that animal evolve? And would we know it when we saw it? All other photos in this story by Ian Connellan. On a hillside just … Continue reading Animal? Vegetable? Now mineral.

Profile: Sibling Scientists

Emmy & Ian Hughes – Martian geologist & marine biologist Growing up, Emmy and Ian Hughes took summer holidays they’ll never forget. Each year they flew from their home in California to South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, where they spent six weeks roaming the semi-arid hills and creeks around the Nilpena fossil site where their mother, … Continue reading Profile: Sibling Scientists

Behind the scenes: new national park offers an exclusive window into life at the dawn of time

This article first appeared in Cosmos Weekly on 16 July 2021. For more stories like this, subscribe to Cosmos Weekly. There’s a place where you can get a glimpse of the world as it was when animals were first becoming animals, and it has just become Australia’s newest national park. Six hours north of Adelaide … Continue reading Behind the scenes: new national park offers an exclusive window into life at the dawn of time

Animal ancestor primera

The ancient stone at Nilpena fossil site, about 600 kilometres north of Adelaide, South Australia, has yielded some of the world’s most important fossil finds. In 1946, geologist Reg Sprigg was exploring for minerals at the old Ediacara minefield in the western Flinders Ranges when he discovered fossils in rocks. The soft-bodied creatures he found … Continue reading Animal ancestor primera