Queensland Museum Network houses the State Collection of more than 1.2 million objects. With developments in conservation and greater storage requirements, we need to find ways new ways for researchers, students and educators to gain understanding of the valuable data held in the collection. Project DIG will deliver innovative technologies that will allow digital exploration, revealing new and exciting information not accessible before.
But what information, exactly, will we be sharing? Project DIG will see a significant upgrade in Queensland Museum Network’s digital imaging capabilities, with the latest 3D scanning, x-ray and interactive visualisation technology helping us to share objects in detail, giving better virtual access to the information held in our collection than ever before. This means a palaeontologist in Germany studying megafauna will be able to search the database and view the Queensland Museum Network fossil collections in detailed 3D without having to travel—and so too, will a grade 9 class in Gladstone learning about changing Queensland environments or mass extinction.
It also means that teams within the Queensland Museum Network will be more easily able to collaborate and share data, so our researchers in Townsville, Toowoomba, Ipswich and South Bank will find working together more straightforward.
One of the most exciting things about Project DIG will be our ability to share our research with the world. The unique discoveries at South Walker Creek have the potential to reveal new insight into a variety of disciplines.
The South Walker Creek site preserves fossilised evidence of a previously unknown ancient tropical ecosystem, full of extinct species of supersized crocodiles, lizards and marsupials, known collectively as ‘megafauna’. The South Walker Creek fossils may represent a new suite of extinct species unique to tropical Australia. The site is potentially the youngest megafauna site in Australia and may hold the key to understanding the evolution and extinction of Australia’s megafauna, in particular how these species responded to past changes in climate and the arrival of humans in the tropical north. Project DIG will incorporate Qeensland Museum Network’s South Walker Creek megafauna research into a project that includes field work, research and education resources that explore both the modern and ancient environments of the area. Using exciting new technologies to explore, researchers will also be able to examine changes to the environment over time and how these systems are connected today, so we can better understand how our environment might change in the future.