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Michelle

Michelle Johnston

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Queensland Museums, Galleries And Libraries > Cultural
To expand the understanding of marine reptile fossils of Queensland and enhance outback palaeotourism - Germany, UK, Canada, USA, Colombia, Ecuador
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Palaeontology in Australia has enjoyed an explosion in popularity in recent times – partly due to new finds – especially in Western Queensland, and popular movies such as the ‘Jurassic Park’ series, ‘The Good Dinosaur’, and even ‘Ice Age’. Children of all ages continue to go through a ‘dinosaur stage’, where they are (perhaps temporarily) an expert. Despite all of this, the marine reptile fossil record in Australia is in need of some attention. Terrestrial dinosaurs traditionally have ridden this palaeontological wave of popularity, leaving the marine reptiles behind.

‘The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance - the idea that anything is possible.’ Ray Bradbury

Major lessons, conclusions and dissemination of information:

Through visiting major marine reptile collections internationally, I have gained a better understanding of the international marine reptile fossil record. I am now able to apply this new found knowledge to the Australian marine reptile fossil record – in particular to the Kronosaurus sp. Whist visiting these collections, quite often in regional and remote localities, I have been able to gain a better understanding of palaeotourism and what methods these museums have utilized to increase the visitor experience.

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