With every visit to the Discovery Centre, we promise you’ll walk away having learnt something new.
There’s over 1300 objects and specimens to explore at your fingertips in this interactive space, so it was quite the challenge to narrow down this list!
Here’s ten interesting things you can see on display at the Discovery Centre:
Why’s it special? It’s one of the oldest forms of evidence of continuous human occupation of Australia. The larger stone is called a Millstone and forms the lower platform for the smaller stone, called a Muller, to work against. Grindstones can be used for grinding seeds into flour for bread making, cracking bones for the extraction of marrow and for cracking nuts. They were also used for grinding up pigments, such as ochres.
- Megalodon Tooth
Did you know the word Megalodon means “large tooth”? Mega-toothed sharks were some of the top ocean predators during the Neogene and Paleogene Periods about 2.58-66 million years ago. The last and largest of them was Otodus megalodon, which is estimated to have been 14.2 to 15.3 meters in length.
Found on the banks of the Tweed River in Queensland, this object is very popular with our curious little learners.
- Dugong Skull
This bizarre skull has been baffling visitors to the Discovery Centre for years! Its combination of a down-turned snout, tusks, and nostrils positioned atop the skull are unlike any other animal found in Australia.
Read more about Dugongs here.
- Opalised Bivalve Fossil
Opalised fossils are only found in Australia. This opalised bivalve fossil is not just a beautiful gem, but is a remnant of a lost ocean that flooded much of central Australia over 100 million years ago. Opal miners have found numerous opalised fossil creatures from this time, including giant marine reptiles and even the occasional dinosaur!
- Purple Flying Gurnard
Despite its name, this fish does not fly. Why such huge fins? Are they for display?
- Giant Burrowing Cockroach
The Giant Burrowing Cockroach, Macropanesthia rhinoceros is the world’s heaviest cockroach! They can weigh up to 35 grams and reaches 8 centimetres in length. They are native to Australian and occur in open forests in northern Queensland. Females gives birth to live young (not eggs) and will remain with their mothers for some months. They can live up to 10 years which is very impressive!
- Venus Flower Basket
You might have heard of sea sponges, but what about glass sponges? The Venus Flower Basket, Euplectella aspergillum is an intricate woven-looking animal that lives in the depths of the ocean. Often a pair of shrimp are trapped inside the sponge for their whole lives.
- Gordian Worm
Most parasitic animals are happy to feed on their host, but only parasitoids seek to actively kill their host. Gordian worms are parasitoids of insects such as grasshoppers and mantids. Remarkably, they appear to be able to control the final actions of their hosts, causing them to go to water before bursting from the empty husk of the insect’s body in gruesome fashion.
- Giant Fishkiller Bug
This impressively large insect is a type of hemipteran or ‘true bug’. All hemipterans feed on fluids using a straw-like proboscis. The majority of species feed on plant sap, but some are specialised predators. The Giant Fishkiller Bug (Lethocerus insulanus) is one of these, and as the name suggests, is capable of killing and eating small fishes.
- Mystery of the Month display
We’ll keep this one a surprise for you to discover. Each month there’s a new mysterious display on the Discovery Centre counter.
Found a mysterious object of your own? Our knowledge museum experts are on hand to answer your questions and identify objects. If you can’t make it in person, submit your questions online.
Read more mystery object blogs.
Visit the Discovery Centre on Level 4 of Queensland Museum
Fancy going on a treasure hunt? Visit the Discovery Centre today and see if you can find all of the interesting and unique objects and specimens listed in this blog.
Share your visit with us on social media by tagging #DiscoveryQM #myqldmuseum and let us know what you discovered.
Free entry. Queensland Museum is open daily from 9:30am – 4pm.