Paleontologist and curator of Kronosaurus Kornor, Michelle Johnston.
Paleontologist and curator of Kronosaurus Kornor, Michelle Johnston. Jacob Carson

Discoveries 100 million years in the making

CURIOUS young Gympie minds were given the chance to explore the past this weekend, with the Gympie Bone Museum's Finding Fossils exhibit. 

Overseen by palaeontologist Michelle Johnston, the event gave visitors the opportunity to discover genuine fossils and get a hands-on introduction into palaeontology. 

"So I sent down some 110 million-year-old rock from the Richmond area," she said. 

"Back in the day, Richmond was in the middle of the inland sea - so this is a sedimentary rock with fish fossils in it." 

Visitors were equipped with magnifying glasses and fine brushes and attempted to differentiate stone from fossil. 

While the remnants are millions of years old, mighty dinosaurs these aren't. 

"I did have to disappoint some kids, the teeth they found weren't actually shark teeth," Michelle laughed. 

"They were just fish teeth, not quite as exciting to them. 

"They really enjoyed the activity though - they were learning the basics scientific techniques of sorting and classifying."

The event also gave children the opportunity to have their discoveries be part of a genuine scientific display. 

Michelle is curator at the Kronosaurus Korner in Richmond, after all.

"Once they've found something, they'll put it aside and I'll take that back and add it to our collection in Richmond," she said. 

Having been in her role for just over six months, promoting greater education in this area is a major initiative. 

"One of the things I'm passionate about is getting this education out to school kids," she said. 

"I have packs of this 'fish mash' that I can send out to schools - I've sent them across Australia and I'm preparing to send some over to the UK as well."

There are also plans for school camps at the Kronosaurus Korner as well, providing a practical learning experience in the field. 

With the room packed at Bone Museum, Jamie and Deb Cook deemed the event a major success. 

There are already plans in place to grow the museum even further in 2018. 

For upcoming scientific, family-friendly events in the Gympie area, check out the Gympie Bone Museum's Facebook page here.

Gympie Times


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