Help choose a fossil emblem for South Australia

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What you said

South Australia is choosing a fossil emblem to join our existing emblems of the Sturt’s desert pea, the hairy-nosed wombat, the opal gemstone and the leafy sea dragon. You can help to decide which ancient sea creature will be the fossil emblem for our State - cast your vote here.

What is being decided?

One of four fossils will be chosen to be South Australia’s fossil emblem. A State fossil emblem will help generate pride in our State’s natural wonders and a sense of ownership for our

About

his voting has now closed.

Updates and outcomes
What you said

South Australia is choosing a fossil emblem to join our existing emblems of the Sturt’s desert pea, the hairy-nosed wombat, the opal gemstone and the leafy sea dragon. You can help to decide which ancient sea creature will be the fossil emblem for our State - cast your vote here.

What is being decided?

One of four fossils will be chosen to be South Australia’s fossil emblem. A State fossil emblem will help generate pride in our State’s natural wonders and a sense of ownership for our unique fossil heritage.

The four fossil candidates are all ancient marine creatures that lived in the Flinders Ranges 645 to 542 million years ago when the area was covered by an inland sea. The Ediacaran animals are the oldest known animals on Earth and the ancestors of today’s sponges, corals, sea-snails, worms and crustaceans. The Ediacaran fossil site in South Australia is where these creatures were first discovered and is one of the best in the world. Want to know more about these fossils - check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

The four candidates for the State fossil emblem are:

  • Spriggina floundersi: found in South Australia and nowhere else in the world. It has a curved head and a segmented body tapering towards the tail end. It is named after South Australian geologist Reg Sprigg, who discovered the first Ediacaran fossil.
  • Dickinsonia costata: the largest of the Ediacaran species found in South Australia. It is a circular, flattened worm with segments radiating out from the centre. It can be as small as a fingerprint or as large as a car tyre.
  • Tribrachidium heraldicum: an unusual disc-shaped creature unrelated to any animals living today. It has three spiralling ‘arms’ radiating from the centre covered by sieve-like nets that may have helped it trap food.
  • Parvancorina minchami: a small, shield-shaped creature with a ridge on its back like an anchor. It was discovered by Hans Mincham, the first information officer at the South Australian Museum.


How can your input influence the decision?

Your vote will help decide which fossil will become the State's fossil emblem. Voting opens 11 July 2016 and closes 21 August 2016 - vote for your favourite fossil.

You can also visit the South Australian Museum online or in person to see 3D displays, animations and exhibits of the four Ediacaran species vying to be the state fossil emblem.

Want to know more?


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    by BTT_Migration_Team,

    State Fossil Emblem Announced

    Identifying our State Fossil Emblem

    In mid 2016, a scientific group met with paleontological representatives from each of the three universities (including Emeritus Professor Rod Wells), the two major state agencies (DSD, DEWNR) and the Museum. This group reviewed the Ediacaran biota and agreed on a number of criteria that would guide selection of a shortlist of potential state fossil emblems to present to the community.

    The final four species shortlisted were Spriggina floundersi; Dickinsonia costata; Tribrachidium heraldicum; and Parvancorina. The shortlist had aesthetic appeal, represented a significant evolutionary development, and had a strong story to tell. Each of these species were quite different morphologically, subsequently it presented the community with a real option through an engaging process.

    Public votes for the State Fossil Emblem were sourced from physical voting stations at the South Australian Museum and Ikara (Wilpena Pound), as well as through the State Government’s ‘YourSAy’ website.

    Strong, enthusiastic and thoughtful responses were received during the two-month voting period with a total of 3,571 votes received.

    An equal spread of male and female respondents, aged from under 9 to 80+ and residing in both metro and rural locations, provided insightful reasons for selecting their favourite short-listed fossil.

    Result

    When voting respondents were given the opportunity to provide the rationale for their vote. Voters primarily identified a strong preference for a specimen that is unique to South Australia. The Flinders Ranges provide the best exposed, most accessible and geologically complete context for Ediacara fossils anywhere on Earth. Moreover, their aesthetic appeal and evolutionary significance were also strong reasons for their voting preference.

    With 49% of the overall vote, Spriggina-floundersi was a resounding favourite of respondents, subsequently Spriggina-floundersi has been adopted as South Australia’s newest State Emblem, our State Fossil Emblem.

    Spriggina-floundersi

    Found in the iconic sandstone rock formation that holds key landmarks in Adnyamathanha traditional stories of origin in the Flinders Ranges, Spriggina-floundersi was the first know Ediacaran animal with an identifiable head and segmented body, and a possible precursor to all arthropods: animals with jointed appendages, segmented bodies and external skeletons.

    Arguably the head of Spriggina is the earliest evidence of a brain and concentration of sensory organs. It is unique to South Australia.

    Spriggina is named in honour of the late Dr Reg. Sprigg, South Australia’s famous entrepreneurial geologist who pioneered uranium mining, and the search for oil and gas throughout that State. Sprigg also established Australia’s first private sanctuary to conserve the unique natural heritage of the Arkaroola region.

    Sir David Attenborough & South Australia’s Fossil Heritage

    The international significance of South Australia’s fossil heritage is well known to Sir David Attenborough. On more than one occasion Sir David has visited South Australia, specifically the South Australian Museum and our fossil sites to see for himself the first origins of life.

    Fittingly, Sir David has provided us with a statement in relation to Spriggina-floundersi:

    ‘Spriggina is one of the first known animals to have lived on Earth. Its head and segmented body suggest that it may well have had a rudimentary brain, making it, perhaps, the earliest evidence of intelligent life in the history of our planet. It was named after the late Reginald Sprigg, the pioneering South Australian geologist who first recognised that it, and other fossils that he found in the Ediacara hills, are among the oldest known large organisms on Earth. So Spriggina’s fame and importance make it a very fitting State Fossil Emblem for South Australia.’

    Sir David Attenborough, February 2017.