A scientific expedition jointly sponsored by Australia and the United States has found evidence of pre-historic life in the remote outback of South Australia.
Aerial view Lake Callabonna
SV PAN fossil tracks diprotodont
SV & CU reconstructed diprotodont (3 shots)
CU foot of reconstruction dissolve to track left by animals.
SV Teeth and jawbone fragments of diprotodont on surface
CU exposed jaw of fossil dissolve to reconstruction showing teeth and jaw
CU fossil jaw & teeth (2 shots)
LV expedition vehicles PAN to man digging
SV another man using brush on fossil
CU bone being excavated from clay
CU dirt being brushed from bone
SV giant wombat bones being excavated
CU live wombat walking
CU fragment of extinct wild wombat (inverted)
fragments of backbone and hip section
CU clay being removed from bone
CU & SV plaster mould being put around fossil
SV plastered fossil being moved
GV PAN number of casts at camp awaiting transport
CU casts destined for American Institute
Initials RJ/PW/PS/1312 RJ/PW/PS/1349
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Background: A scientific expedition jointly sponsored by Australia and the United States has found evidence of pre-historic life in the remote outback of South Australia.
The expedition discovered tracks of the extinct diprotodont which roamed the area millions of years ago. Doctor Tedford, of the American Museum, who heads the expedition, says that the dry lake probably contains the most significant relics of the animal yet discovered.
A fleet of four wheel drive vehicles combed Lake Callabonna for evidence of pre-historic life. In 1893, an aborigine stockman told his employers of the lake and the bones which could be see on the surface. The South Australia Museum in Adelaide, some 500 miles (800 kms) to the south, was informed and an expedition set out the same year. After 12 months of painstaking digging, the scientists returned to Adelaide with enough bones to reconstruct a skeleton of the diprotodont. It is still the only one in existence.
Conditions at the excavation site couldn't be worse. During the summer months the temperature reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees centigrade) in the shade and there is virtually no rain. A match dropped to the ground ignites immediately. However, according to Doctor Tedford, conditions weren't always as severe. He says that more than 40,000 years ago the area was lush and green with a heavy rainfall. Then the giant diprotodont, weighing up to two tons, roamed the lake area eating the lush foliage of the trees.
With the climatic change the diprotodont, giant kangaroos and wombats began dying off. the doctor believes that at one stage there were more than 100,000 prehistoric animals living near the lake, but over a period of thousands of years they became extinct.