PROTECTING THE FIRST

EVIDENCE OF ANIMAL

LIFE ON EARTH

Unearthing fossilised life with the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation

PROTECTING THE FIRST

EVIDENCE OF ANIMAL

LIFE ON EARTH

Unearthing fossilised life with the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation

PROTECTING THE FIRST EVIDENCE OF ANIMAL LIFE ON EARTH

FULL VIDEO

The Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation was established in 2018 with a charter to protect the Ediacaran fossils found at Nilpena in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. We are protecting the region for future generations as we continue to unearth the earliest remains of animal life on earth.
The Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation was established in 2018 with a charter to protect the Ediacaran fossils found at Nilpena in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. We are protecting the region for future generations as we continue to unearth the earliest remains of animal life on earth.

life’s beginning

Life’s beginning

Paleontological uniqueness & importance

550 million years in the making, the fossils of Nilpena are the world’s greatest record of the advent and evolution of early animal life on our planet. These fossils are of immense scientific value and must be protected.

First discovered by renowned geologist Reg Sprigg in 1946, the Nilpena fossils have been researched from a number of years by leading scientific organisations, including the University of California Riverside and the South Australian Museum.

The Nilpena fossil beds are among the most important sites in the world for the study of the Ediacaran Period.

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Life’s beginning

IN THEIR WORDS:

ANDY THOMAS, ASTRONAUT

Andy joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1992, taking his first flight into space on a science mission aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 1996. Two years later he undertook a 20-week mission as a cosmonaut on the Mir space station. His 2001 mission to the International Space Station included a six-hour spacewalk. Andy’s fourth space flight, to the space station, was on space shuttle Discovery in 2005.

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Life’s beginning

THE UNIQUE NILPENA FOSSIL BEDS

Nilpena Station lies 600km inland and north of Adelaide west of the Flinders Ranges. Because of its international significance as a fossil research site, Nilpena has been included on the National Heritage List.

For more than 20 years, palaeontologists have worked meticulously excavating 40 fossiliferous beds. No such excavation has been done else where. Each one of these beds preserves a snapshot of what was once the seafloor and the organisms living on it.

Nilpena hosts an extraordinary diversity of organisms in abundance on its fossil beds, including evidence of the first animals on earth.

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Life’s beginning

IN THEIR WORDS:

RICHARD FORTEY, WRITER & BROADCASTER

Internationally-recognised research scientist and leading presenter of both life and Earth’s interactive history, Richard is a world leading authority on trilobites, the ancient marine fossil.

He has contributed to the understanding of trilobite life habits, evolutionary relationships, and their role as indicators of ancient world geography in more than 200 publications, celebrating an appreciation of the history of nature and its role in our future.

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Life’s beginning

TO UNEARTH AND PROTECT:

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SCIENCE

Reg Sprigg’s discovery of fossil imprints in rocks around the old Ediacara minefield in the western Flinders Ranges in 1946, while exploring for minerals, was the first time fossilised remains of an entire community of creatures had been found anywhere in the world.

By preserving the site and allowing researchers to study the fossilised beds, palaeontologists can better understand how the early forms of life evolved. This diverse collection of ancient fossilised organisms represents a significant snapshot of the earth’s geological heritage.

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Life’s beginning

IN THEIR WORDS:

STEVEN MARSHALL, SOUTH AUSTRALIAN PREMIER

“These fossils are of international significance and they’re right here in South Australia. Now, together with the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation, the State Government and the traditional owners, we’re going to be able to preserve these fossils, and most importantly, share them.”

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visit

BEST

global record of the advent & early evolution of animal life

550

Million years old

600

North of Adelaide, South Australia

Visit

VISITING NILPENA STATION’S Ediacara FOSSIL BEDS

We invite you to visit and join us on this journey of conservation and education, as world-leading researchers continue to explore the ancient sea floor that lies within the Ediacara Hills, and as we develop the programs to make these discoveries accessible for generations to come.

VISIT
  • Guided access only
  • Blacksmith’s Shop open in 2021
  • South Australia’s newest National Park
  • Two-wheel drive accessible
  • School groups welcome from late 2021
  • Containing more than 40 fossil beds
  • Marking the advent of complex animal life on the planet
  • Part of the Flinders Ranges World Heritage bid

FOUNDATION

THE FOUNDATION

FROM THE CHAIR:
MARY LOU SIMPSON

Founded in 2018 to urgently protect the world’s single greatest fossil record of first animal life, the Foundation achieves its purpose through in situ conservation, and supporting education and tourism, making the fossils and their significance accessible for all.

We are working with government and a range of partners to create a long-term asset for the Flinders Ranges, and to support the protection of this fossil heritage in perpetuity.

The Foundation is embarking on an ambitious construction and preservation program at Nilpena. We hope you will be inspired to contribute to creating a new legacy for Australia.

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SUPPORT US

Isn’t it extraordinary to think that this whole area used to be a shallow protected ocean not unlike the Spencer Gulf today.

Ian HughesIan Hughes - Passionate Supporter

The site is awesome. It’s amazing to see life, millions of years old, in perfect fossilised condition

Students Danby and ElliotStudents Danby and Elliot - Passionate Supporters

It is difficult to comprehend that long before livestock roamed Nilpena, this marginal country was once underwater and home to array of ancient creatures marking the dawn of animal life.

Ross FargherRoss Fargher - Rancher & landowner of Nilpena cattle station

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WHY YOUR SUPPORT IS IMPORTANT

Your support and contribution will be critical in protecting this globally significant site in perpetuity – not just for South Australia or Australia but for everyone. By supporting the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation, you’ll be helping to create an everlasting legacy, preserving one of the most significant pieces of the history of life on earth for now and for future generations.

Since its launch in March 2019, the Foundation has raised significant funds to allow for the State Government purchase of the land holding the fossil beds, to assist with the protection of the fossils and to support the transformation of the historic Blacksmith’s Shop into an immersive Ediacaran interpretive centre.

The next critical step is to ensure the effective management and interpretation of the site. The Foundation is working closely with the South Australian Government to create a new way of managing this National Park. To support this ongoing vision for the future of the Nilpena site, we are seeking funding through personal donations, bequests and corporate contributions.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

The Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation acknowledges the traditional lands of the Adnyamathanha people. We acknowledge them as the custodians of the region and that their cultural heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Adnyamathanha people today and into the future.