During the Early Cretaceous period (~100 mya) much of Queensland was covered in a vast, shallow sea. The fossil remains of the animals, including marine reptiles such as plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs, are commonly found at numerous localities across the state. Due to a long collection history, a significant amount of material is already present in museum collections but remains largely undescribed or understudied.

Queensland Museum Senior Curator, Dr Espen Knutsen and his team are conducting further research to paint a comprehensive picture of Cretaceous marine reptiles from Queensland, the environment they lived in and how these creatures have changed over time.

This project will:

  • Document and interpret important undescribed museum material.
  • Develop 3D models of important marine reptile specimens from the State Collection and their localities.
  • Complete targeted field programs to collect further marine reptile remains to fill gaps in our knowledge of marine reptile diversity and evolution during the Early Cretaceous.
  • CT scan data for marine reptiles in the State Collection.
  • Provide relative and absolute dating of collected faunas.
  • Identify changes in marine reptile fauna over time.
  • Provide public access to 3D models through Queensland Museum Network’s Sketchfab page.

This research is conducted in collaboration with James Cook University and Traditional Owners.

Learn more about Queensland’s marine reptiles at Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators, on at Queensland Museum from 20 November 2020 - 3 May 2021.