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Research

The Australian Opal Centre's collection of fossils and opal-related geological items is a rich resource for scientific researchers. AOC research partnerships are producing exciting results, especially in the fields of palaeontology (the science of fossils) and geology.

Discoveries from the AOC collection include:

  • Lightning Claw, the largest carnivorous dinosaur known from bones found in Australia
  • The first scientific record of pterosaur (flying reptile) fossils from NSW 
  • The world's first scientific paper about an opalised ankylosaur dinosaur fossil
  • Australia's oldest pulmonate snail (a land-living snail that breathes using a lung, not gills)
  • The world's oldest horned turtle, or meiolaniid

Stand by for new announcements about dating of the opal-bearing Griman Creek Formation at Lightning Ridge and the first new species of dinosaur to be named in NSW since 1932! Research is also underway into theropod, ornithopod and sauropod dinosaur fossils in the AOC collection.

Australian Opal Centre collection items are being studied by scientists and research students at the University of New England at Armidale, NSW; the University of Queensland; Museum of Victoria; Swinburne University at Melbourne, Victoria; American Museum of Natural History; Jacksonville State University in Alabama; Natural History Museum, London; National Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; University of Bologna, Italy; and the Australian Opal Centre itself.

You can support and be involved in scientific research at the Australian Opal Centre. Register for the annual Lightning Ridge Fossil Dig, donate items to the collection, or contact us to discuss a donation to the AOC acquisitions fund or if you think you can support our research in other ways.