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Hunting for fossils in an opal mine

Hunting for fossils in an opal mine

E446/0129

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Credit

PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Hunting for fossils. A worker using a pneumatic drill to dislodge rock during a hunt for dinosaur fossils in an opal mine at Lightning Ridge, southern Australia. Fossil excavations usually follow existing mining operations. The seam of opal-bearing rock is about 100-120 million years old, laid down during the mid-Cretaceous Period, a time of rich diversification of dinosaur species. Australian fossils are particularly interesting, as at that time the continent was much closer to the South Pole than today. This means that many dinosaurs would have had to cope with long periods of permanent darkness during the southern winter months.

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