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Digging up the Diprotodon

Onsite
Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels

Background

The Diprotodon, the largest marsupial believed to have ever lived, was the first fossil mammal described from Australia in 1838. Fossil Diprotodon skulls have since been found in Bacchus Marsh, and are currently on display at Museum Victoria. The fossil record indicates that Diprotodons and other megafauna lived in Australia up to 100,000 years ago. Ecolinc is currently showcasing casts of trackways featuring footprints of the Diprotodon and other megafauna including giant kangaroos and giant wombats. The trackways were constructed by Museum Victoria and are currently on loan from Federation University.

The Ecolinc Geological Trail features a range of boulders from the Ordovician to Quaternary time periods. One contains a fossil plant leaf, which gives an indication of the climate at the time.

There is scientific dispute as to whether the megafauna became extinct due to predation by humans or due to climate change.


Learning Intentions

In this activity students will:

  • Understand how Australia’s megafauna, in particular, the Diprotodon became extinct
  • Examine a range of fossil evidence and understand what a Diprotodon may have looked like
  • Understand the characteristics of rocks from the Ordovician to Quaternary periods.

Activities

Students will:

  • Explore the Ecolinc Geological Trail
  • Examine the megafauna trackways to propose characteristics and features of megafauna
  • Construct a fossil dig
  • Use evidence provided to predict what a Diprotodon may have looked like.

Victorian Curriculum

  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effects of their actions (VCSSU056)
  • Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (VCSSU057)
  • Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to inform personal and community decisions and to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives (VCSSU073)