Museums Victoria has announced the official state fossil emblem for Victoria following a public vote: a car-sized amphibian from the South Gippsland region resembling a newt-crocodile combination.
Koolasuchus cleelandi (Cool-a-SOO-cuss clee-LAN-die) lived about 125 million years ago and measured up to four metres long.
The most amazing thing about the animal is it’s said to have lived for about 50 million years after its relatives went extinct.
The emblem was voted by the Victorian public after weeks of careful consideration, alongside seven other candidates all celebrating significant parts of Victoria’s unique palaeontological heritage.
In September, as the candidates were announced, acting director of the Geological Survey of Victoria Grant Clarke said he was pleased to see the growing interest in Victoria’s history.
“Helping select our state fossil emblem is a great way to celebrate and explore Victoria’s unique and amazing geological history,” Clarke said.
“Since its inception in 1852, the Geological Survey of Victoria has been documenting fossils and their occurrence in Victoria’s rock record.
“The identification of fossils during geological mapping is an integral part of determining the environment of deposition and geologic age of a rock, including any relationships with other rocks in the stratigraphy.”
Koolasuchus cleelandi was discovered by Michael Cleeland and named by vertebrate palaeontologist Anne Warren.
Other candidates for the emblem include the world’s first giant plant (known as Baragwanathia), a whale ancestor (called Janjucetus hunderi), and a giant bird from Bayside (named Pelagornis).
Victoria now joins a majority of other Australian states and territories in celebrating its palaeontological heritage with an official fossil emblem.