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Digging up the Diprotodon

Onsite
Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels

Background

Megafauna are big (mega) animals (fauna). These are animals that lived in Australia up to 100,000 years ago. They were at least 30% larger than any of their extant relatives. There is significant dispute as to whether the megafauna became extinct due to predation by humans or due to climate change.

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.

Ecolinc is currently showcasing casts on trackways featuring footprints on the Diprotodon, the giant kangaroo and giant wombat. 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 444-488 mya) to Quaternary (0-2.6 mya) time periods. One contains a fossil plant leaf, which gives an indication of the climate at the time.

Maximum number of students for this program is 50 per day.


Prior Knowledge

Students will need to know how to use iMovie.


Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Understand and predict how megafauna became extinct
  • Examine a range of fossil evidence and understand how this can unlock our understanding of the megafauna and their habitat
  • Understand how rocks are indicators of how the earth’s surface changes over time.

Activities

Students will:

  • Adopt a ‘rolling stone’ from the Ecolinc Geological Trail to investigate its origins and unlock its secrets through movie production
  • Discover who passed this way by predicting and solving the ‘trackways megafauna challenge’
  • Become part of the archeological team that uncovers megafauna fossils and solves the puzzle of their origin.

Note: This program is strictly 10am-2.30pm and cannot be shortened in time.


Victorian Curriculum

  • Science knowledge helps people 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).