Do you DIG legless lizards?

By Paul Oliver and Jessica Worthington Wilmer. This is a story about the about how the genes of obscure and rare animals can speak the history of our diverse landscapes. The stars of the story are two species of very odd-looking geckos. We typically think of geckos as big-eyed, soft-bodied lizards that run around on walls at night. But geckos are in fact a diverse … Continue reading Do you DIG legless lizards?

New Research: Reptiles on the brink

Slithering serpents! Did you know that Australia is home to around 10 percent of the world’s reptile species – the largest number of any country? Queensland Museum herpetologists Patrick Couper and Dr Andrew Amey recently contributed to the first comprehensive study on snakes and lizards which found 11 species are likely to become extinct by 2040 including the McIlwraith Leaf-tailed Gecko, Orraya occultus,  Cape Melville … Continue reading New Research: Reptiles on the brink

Spotlight on Nangur Skink (Nangura spinosa)|World Lizard Day

To celebrate World Lizard Day on the 14 August and National Science Week, our #CouchCurator and Senior Curator of Reptiles, Patrick Couper is shining the spotlight on one species of Skink – Nangur Skink (Nangura spinosa). The Nangur Skink was discovered in 1992 when a single specimen was dug from a dry creek bed in Nangur State Forest. The discovery was made by staff from … Continue reading Spotlight on Nangur Skink (Nangura spinosa)|World Lizard Day

What does it take to take to describe a new species?

by Dr Paul Oliver, Queensland Museum and Griffith University Describing new species is bread and butter work for the scientists at Queensland Museum. Across our campuses we have experts in groups ranging from corals to spiders to snails. And over the 158-year history of the museum our scientist have described over 5000 new species. This work underpins our understanding of biodiversity. Field guides, conservation planning, … Continue reading What does it take to take to describe a new species?

A Crime scene of the past – investigating tropical ice age megafauna

By Rochelle Lawrence, Palaeontological Research Assistant, and Scott Hocknull, Senior Curator, Geosciences, Queensland Museum In 2008, an extraordinary discovery was made at South Walker Creek, located near the town of Nebo, west of Mackay in Queensland, Australia. Traditional owners of the area, the Barada Barna people, were conducting a cultural heritage survey for the South Walker Creek Mine when they came across some interesting bones. … Continue reading A Crime scene of the past – investigating tropical ice age megafauna

What are megafauna?

By Rochelle Lawrence, Palaeontological Research Assistant, and Scott Hocknull, Senior Curator, Geosciences, Queensland Museum. Megafauna are giant animals usually weighing over 44 kilograms (kg). Most megafauna are now extinct (no longer exist) and were closely related to living species of animals we see today. You have probably heard of the more commonly known megafauna species, like the saber-toothed cat and woolly mammoth from North America. … Continue reading What are megafauna?

What species of Geckos can you find around your home?

Steve from Queensland Museum’s Discovery Centre has been documenting the wildlife he finds around his home and garden during isolation. Here he shares the types of geckos he can find around his home and gives some tips for how you can spot them around your own home. We are all spending plenty of time at home at the moment, so it seems like a perfect … Continue reading What species of Geckos can you find around your home?

World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day is #Shellebrated globally on 23 May, to celebrate these incredible creatures, increase knowledge, raise awareness of the impact of plastic pollution, and to highlight the importance of protecting their disappearing habitats. Did you know six of the world’s seven marine turtle species are known from Queensland? You can read more on sea turtles here. The Impact of Plastic Pollution Every bit of … Continue reading World Turtle Day

Sharing nature’s gems for World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife Day, held annually on 3 March, was created to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. The day has now become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife. This year’s theme is “Life below water: for people and planet”. Oceans harbour a rich variety of communities and a wealth of strange and beautiful creatures, each with its … Continue reading Sharing nature’s gems for World Wildlife Day

Celebrating women in science

We celebrate the achievements of women, known and unknown, remembered and forgotten, who have forged the way for those of us in science today, and to give an opportunity for children: girls and boys, to choose role models in science – Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite, BSc MSc MD PhD This coming 11 February is International Day of Women and Girls in Science and to celebrate we’re … Continue reading Celebrating women in science

Reconstructing the Kronosaurus

Kronosaurus queenslandicus was the largest predatory reptile to swim the seas of western Queensland 105 million years ago. This icon of the paleontological world is thought to have grown up to 11 metres in length, with around two metres of that dedicated to its unusually large skull, containing a mammoth set of jaws and dozens of enormous teeth. Recently, an opportunity arose for the Queensland … Continue reading Reconstructing the Kronosaurus

Been missing our Discovery Centre critters?

Never fear, they’re all still here and safely tucked away behind the scenes throughout the Discovery Centre’s renovation. Our staff continue to bring in the tasty eats they like best – bundles of fresh gum leaves for our stick insects, dried leaves for the giant cockroaches and even frozen rats for our green tree pythons. The baby scorpions, born in the museum, are thriving on … Continue reading Been missing our Discovery Centre critters?

It’s Taxon Time

Written by: Maryanne Venables, Strategic Learning The “Zoo Animals” went into the tin with the blue lid, while my “Farm Animals” went in the tin with the green lid. The animal kingdom, as I knew it, lived under my bed in Streets ice-cream tins. All were classified, according to contexts developed from the songs, books and experiences of a four-year old. Fast forward to 2012 and, … Continue reading It’s Taxon Time

Does size matter? Misidentification of, and assumptions about, the world’s largest lizard

Humans are fascinated by extremes; just consider the popularity of the Guinness Book of Records. It’s also reflected by our fascination with huge dinosaurs; think Tyrannosaurus rex and Brachiosaurus. So it is not surprising that claims that ‘giant predatory lizards 11m long once roamed Ancient Australia’ would garner attention and intrigue. In fact the lizard was appropriately given the scientific name, Megalania, meaning ‘giant ripper’. … Continue reading Does size matter? Misidentification of, and assumptions about, the world’s largest lizard

Rock Refugia

Patrick Couper is Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at Queensland Museum and has an active interest in the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of Queensland’s diverse reptile fauna. A major focus of Patrick’s research has been the discovery and description of leaf-tailed geckos that live in the rainforests of eastern Australia. Leaf-tails, which have a long rainforest ancestry, often have strong associations with rocky outcrops. Rocky … Continue reading Rock Refugia

A LA LA! – Atlas of Living Australia Live At Last

Atlas of Living Australia Live At Last! The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) was launched in Brisbane on the 20th May. At a special ceremony held at Queensland Museum (QM), Dr John Hooper (Head of Biodiversity and Geosciences at Queensland Museum) spoke about the collaboration of museums, herbaria, universities and other government collections in producing the ALA. The ALA is an online encyclopaedia of all living … Continue reading A LA LA! – Atlas of Living Australia Live At Last