100-million-year-old fossil at Ekka
THE Warwick region is exhibiting more than cattle and produce at the Royal Brisbane Show this year - curator Paul Stumkat is exhibiting a 100-million-year-old fossil.
For three weeks Mr Stumkat has been preparing a pliosaur specimen at his home in Killarney to be displayed as part of the Kronosaurus Korner at the Science Pavilion at the Brisbane Ekka from this Thursday.
The difficult job is in safe hands. Mr Stumkat works seasonally as the curator of the Kronosaurus Korner Fossil Museum in Richmond North West Queensland, where he prepares fossils and displays and conducts digs of skeletal remains.
“It is the most complete vertebrate fossil ever found in Australia,” Mr Stumkat explained.
Although not a dinosaur, it lived during the time of the dinosaurs, 100 million years ago. It was a marine reptile that swam in the inland seas that covered the Richmond area.
The specimen is very special and recently scientists made an extraordinary discovery, finding bite marks on the back of the fossil’s skull.
“You don’t often find a fossil completely intact with evidence of the murder,” Mr Stumkat said.
The fossil, which was found 15 years ago, is 4.3 metres long with a head nearly half a metre long.
The head is full of hundreds of teeth which are mostly intact.
It was fortunate enough to have four penguin-like flippers to propel it quickly through the water to steer clear of the Kronosaurus, which was three times the size of Tyrannosaurus rex.
However, Mr Stumkat believes it is possible the teeth marks on its skull were caused by the devastating Kronosaurus.
“You wouldn’t want to go swimming in the ocean near Richmond 100 million years ago,” Mr Stumkat laughed.
Mr Stumkat said seeing Kronosaurus Korner while it is in Brisbane is an opportunity not to be missed.
There will also be fossil hunting for the children to explore palaeontology.
Mr Stumkat is inviting Southern Downs residents to visit the exhibition to see the specimen he has worked on for a discounted price.