Ediacaran fossils

Ediacaran fossils

Protecting the World’s Greatest Record of Ediacaran Fossils

Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a noble mission to protect and preserve the invaluable heritage of Ediacaran fossils. Established in 2018, the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation is dedicated to safeguarding the Ediacaran fossils found at Nilpena, a site within South Australia’s breathtaking Flinders Ranges. Our commitment extends beyond conservation. We encourage education, tourism, and the promotion of the fossils’ significance. We intend to safeguard the region for the current and forthcoming generations, enabling them to uncover the earliest animal life remains on Earth.

The fossils date back a staggering 550 million years and represent a unique window into the past. We strive to make these fossils accessible to everyone through in situ conservation efforts, educational programs, and sustainable tourism initiatives. We work closely with government bodies and partners, ensuring South Australia remains at the forefront of paleontological research. Our board includes international experts in various fields, from paleontology to finance, to provide a comprehensive global perspective on our mission.

The Significance of Ediacaran Fossils

The Ediacaran fossils offer a remarkable insight into Earth’s transformation over half a billion years ago when our planet evolved from a microbial world into one teeming with diverse life forms. You can step back in time and walk across the ancient seafloor, where countless fossils reveal a once-thriving marine ecosystem. The unique preservation sets these fossils apart, providing a glimpse of life as it existed. A Devoid of predators, skeletal structures, and soft-bodied organisms thrived in this ecosystem, engaging in movement, reproduction, and scavenging activities.

Globally recognised as the Ediacara Biota, these fossils predate the famous Cambrian Explosion by nearly 40 million years. They offer crucial insights into the early experimentation with complex life forms on Earth. Nilpena’s inclusion on the National Heritage List underscores its international significance as a fossil research site. Paleontologists have excavated 40 fossiliferous beds at Nilpena, each preserving a snapshot of the ancient seafloor and its inhabitants. This unique site provides evidence of the first animals inhabiting our planet.

Ediacaran fossils
Ediacaran fossils

Why You Must Tour This Life-Changing Site to See the Ediacaran Fossils

At Nilpena, you can walk across the ancient seafloor and discover the remarkable Ediacaran fossils. Located 550 kilometres north of Adelaide, Nilpena provides a rare opportunity to witness delicate imprints of creatures that once roamed the ancient seafloor. Nowhere else can you get close to these 550 million-year-old wonders and learn about their lives.

Nilpena’s significance extends beyond its fossils. It plays a pivotal role in Australia’s bid for a Flinders Ranges World Heritage listing. The newly established Nilpena Ediacara National Park, managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia, houses an immersive and interpretive experience within the historic Blacksmith’s Shop. Here, you can explore Alice’s Restaurant Bed, showcasing the beginnings of animal life on Earth. This outreach centre inspires everyone, especially schoolchildren, to delve into this unique chapter of our planet’s history and foster a deeper connection with the natural world.

The Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation protects the unique Ediacaran fossil heritage while promoting education and tourism. Get in touch with us for more information.



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



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 work closely with the South Australian State Government to ensure the effective preservation and interpretation of the site and the fossils it contains. To support this ongoing vision for the future of the Nilpena site, we are seeking funding through personal donations, bequests and corporate contributions.