Victoria chooses car-sized amphibian as one of its state emblems
14.01.2022

Victoria chooses car-sized amphibian as one of its state emblems

Victoria state emblem dinosaur

A public vote with more than 11,000 respondents has chosen amphibious dinosaur Koolasuchus cleelandi as Victoria's official state fossil emblem.

If you didn’t know we had one, well now we do. Koolasuchus cleelandi was a car-sized amphibian that lived alongside dinosaurs in Victoria during the Cretaceous period approximately 125 million years ago.

Now it’s gained long overdue recognition as Victoria’s emblematic extinct animal, from quite a few to choose from. Resembling something between a huge newt and a crocodile, Koolasuchus was adapted to life in the rushing rivers that once separated Australia and Antarctica. Fossils of the extinct amphibian have only been found at a few beaches and coves in South Gippsland on Bunurong Country.

What you need to know

  • In a public vote, Victorians have selected a 125 million-year-old state fossil emblem
  • Koolasuchus cleelandi was a car-sized amphibian that lived alongside dinosaurs in Victoria
  • Only a few fossils have been found, all around South Gippsland

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

Fossils of Koolasuchus were first found in 1978 near San Remo. In 1990, a Victorian man found the jaw that became the holotype of the species which was described in 1997. The fossil is viewable at Melbourne Museum, which this week announced the addition of the world’s most complete triceratops to their paleontology department.

Koolasuchus cleelandi will join other state emblems of Victoria: Leadbeater’s Possum, the Helmeted Honeyeater, the Common Seadragon, Common Heath, our state mineral, gold and our state tartan. If you knew any of those, well done.

“Victorian state emblems recognise and celebrate the natural history of our region,” ,” Lynley Crosswell, CEO & Director, Museums Victoria said.

“We are the custodian of these fossils, we display them, research them and keep them safe for future generations to learn from. Koolasuchus cleelandi is of global significance and it provides clues to the evolution of life on Earth and the past environments of Victoria.”

For more info, head to the Melbourne Museum website here.