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Fossil history overview

Mya Period Locations Significant events Bird fossil record
.01 Holocene scattered locations, including cave deposits Europeans arrive; Dingo arrives  
1.6 Pleistocene numerous deposits, including Darling Downs, Qld, Lake Callabona, SA, Cuddie Springs, NSW, Cooper Creek, SA, Wellington Caves, NSW, and other cave deposits humans arrive cassowary, Genyornis (dromornithid), Progura (megapode), Tasmanian Native-hen, Plains-Wanderer, coucal
3.4 L. Pliocene Chinchilla, Qld, central Australia (SA) icehouse phase begins; grasslands expand Emu, darter, heron, flamingo, bustard, coot
5.2 E. Pliocene Bluff Downs, Qld, Riversleigh (RR), Qld greenhouse phase begins Cape Barren Goose, Black Swan, Black-necked Stork, ibis, Budgerigar, honeyeater, many songbirds
10.4 L. Miocene Alcoota NT, Riversleigh Qld invading groups begin to arrive from north; rainforest retreats as drier, more open forests increase Dromornis and other dromornithids
16.3 M. Miocene Bullock Creek, NT, Riversleigh, Qld rainfall begins to decline; major icehouse phase begins; Australia crashes into Asia; New Guinea rises with extensive mountain building Emuarius Dromornithidae, owlet-nightjar, honeyeater
23.3 E. Miocene central Australia (SA), Riversleigh, Qld major greenhouse phase begins; Australian biodiversity probably at all time high white cockatoo, swiftlet, kingfisher, lyrebird, logrunner , Oriolidae
29.3 L. Oligocene central Australia (SA) icehouse phase Emuarius, Dromornithidae grebe rail, megapode, waterfowl, pelican, crane, cormorant, stork, palaeolodid, pigeon, flamingo, raptor, flightless native-hen, shorebird, stone-curlew
gap in the fossil record
55 Eocene southeast coast (SA/Vic), Murgon, Qld last contact with Antarctica; isolation of Australia begins; greenhouse phase penguin Graculavidae ('shorebirds') songbird
gap in the fossil record
65 Cretaceous western Queensland; Black Rock, Vic., Koonwarra, Vic.; Lightning Ridge, NSW dinosaurs present; start of split between Australia and Antarctica Nanantius eos (enantiornithine), unidentified feathers