The magnificent new Riversleigh Fossil Discovery Centre has reopened after four months of renovations and the North West Star took a tour of the new facility.
Tour guides Alan Rackham and Bev Wilmot gave us a tour of the $2.2m renovated facility at Outback at Isa with up to 20 visitors at a time allowed inside and that number is expected to increase in the coming weeks, following the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
The upgrade involved the installation of new, state-of-the-art interactive displays, audio-visual equipment and lighting, the construction of new internal and external entrances, and landscaping work, all paying tribute to a site that keeps on giving when it comes to fossils, including a new marsupial lion identified only this year.
There is a new entrance which Mr Rackham says is "full of information" which if people take the self-guided tour they can read as they go.
"To understand Riversleigh you have to understand the size of it, it covers 35 sq km and there are 280 sites we have identified and every year we find more," Alan said.
Ms Wilmot said the entrance also pays tribute to people like David Attenborough who called Riversleigh one of the world's four greatest fossil sites with photos that were never displayed before.
There are now a lot of interactive displays in the museum including one that shows the three basic ways fossils are formed in the Riversleigh, in cliffs, pools and caves.
"It also deals with the main sites and people can look at that and see a young Alan," Bev said.
By that she means Rackham's Roost where Alan and others identified bird and bat fossils in the 1980s from the late Cenozoic era, 30 million years ago.
Alan also look fondly of a snake vertebrae he glued together which took 16 months.
"It's a magnificent large specimen we had to break up to bring back here, I'm very proud of that one," he said.
Alan and Bev also show visitors close-up of the rocks which have fossils embedded in them.
"Apart from the big diprotodon extracted at Floraville Station it's all Riversleigh stuff and it's all been extracted in the laboratory here," Bev said.
But it is the new interactive displays that the smaller visitors will love including the dromorthid,a gigantic bird which lived 25,000 years ago and which visitors can move around the big screen by moving their feet around.
Self guided tours cost $25 - half price for Mount Isa residents and guided tours cost $38 which run 10am and 2pm most days.
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