Evolution of Australian Biota Study Day - Dubbo

A full day outreach program for Stage 6 Biology students. 

Student with Diprotodon fossils

Student with Diprotodon fossils
Photographer: Stuart Humphreys © Australian Museum

This full day outreach program, developed by the Australian Musuem, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Taronga Zoo program is held at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo. Students examine fossils, specimens, live animals and plants to investigate the evolution and adaptations of Australian animals and plants. 

Educator-led program

The Study Day comprises three educator-led sessions of one hour and 15 minutes duration each:

  1. An Australian Museum educator facilitates this session. Students work in small groups and perform first-hand investigations using specimens of Australian animals to compare current and extinct forms. Activities focus on Australian megafauna and on platypus evolution. These activities are based on Activities 1, 4 and 5  within the Learning from fossils session available at the Museum.
  2. A Royal Botanic Gardens educator leads the students in a session where students investigate native Australian plants, both past and present, including living plant fossils and pollination strategies. 
  3. A Taronga Western Plains Zoo educator leads the students in a session with live animals to learn about the adaptations and evolution of native Australian animals.
  • Bookings for this venue are made direct with Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo:
    Phone Taronga Western Plains Zoo on (02) 6881 1433 or Fax (02) 6884 4530
  • Maximum number of students: 25 per session (3 groups per day)
  • Duration: Three 75 minute sessions
  • Cost: $19.00 (incl GST) per student for 3 sessions. Special 'Zoosnooz' rates available.
  • Location: Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo
  • Transport: Coach parking available
  • Taronga Western Plains Zoo Risk Assessment form

Dates Available: 28 - 30 July 2015 (inclusive)

Booking changes or cancellations:
  • Decreases or increases in your booked number must be advised by 4 weeks before the excursion date.
  • If the number of students attending the Study Day is significantly lower (by 5 students or more) than expected, the school will be invoiced for the booked number of students.
  • We reserve the right to cancel days/sessions not fully filled.
Please note:

Evolution of Australian Biota Study Days are also available on selected dates at:

Education Resource Kit

An Education Kit will be sent by Taronga Western Plains Zoo before your booked excursion date.

  • Student activities for the three sessions are sent following booking.
    (The Museum session can also be viewed at any time – it is based in Activities 1, 4  and 5 within the Learning from Fossils program .)
  • Answers for teachers are either sent after booking or provided at the venue.
Syllabus links:
  • Biology Stage 6

The Study Day is specifically designed for the Stage 6 Biology Syllabus topic, 8.5 Evolution of Australian Biota.

The outcomes addressed by the Museum session are detailed below. The Museum activities (Activities 1, 4,  5) that relate to each syllabus outcome are indicated below.
All students complete Activity 5 on Platypus evolution, and one other activity (either Activity 1 or 4) on Australian megafauna.

 Syllabus outcomes for Biology 8.5 Evolution of Australian Biota:

  Students: Students:

1. Evidence for the rearrangement of crustal plates and continental drift indicates that Australia was once part of an ancient super continent

  •  identify and describe evidence that supports the assertion that Australia was once part of a landmass called Gondwana, including: -fossils in common on Gondwanan continents
    Activity 5 
  • discuss current research into the evolutionary relationships between extinct species, including megafauna and extant Australian species
    Activities 1, 5
  •  ... gather, process and analyse information from secondary sources and use available evidence to illustrate the changing ideas of scientists in the last 200 years about individual species such as the platypus as new information and technologies became available 
    Activity 5
2. The changes in Australian flora and fauna over millions of years have happened through evolution  
  • gather information from secondary sources to describe some Australian fossils, where these fossils were found and use available evidence to explain how they contribute to the development of understanding about the evolution of species in Australia   
    Activity 5
  • perform a first-hand investigation, gather information of named Australian fossil samples and use available evidence to identify similarities and differences between current and extinct Australian life forms   
    Activities 1, 4, 5 
4. A study of palaeontology and past environments increases our understanding of the possible future range of plants and animals
  • explain the importance of the study of past environments in predicting the impact of human activity in present environments
    Activity 5
  • identify the ways in which palaeontology assists understanding of the factors that may determine distribution of flora and fauna in present and future environments
    Activity 5 
  • gather, process and analyse information from secondary sources and use available evidence to propose reasons for the evolution, survival and extinction of species, with reference to specific Australian examples
    Activities 1, 5 


The syllabus links for the Gardens and Zoo sessions are provided in the Education Resource Kit that is sent following booking.

Beth Blaxland , Education Project Officer
Last Updated:

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