A 275 million-year-old fossilised starfish-like creature has been discovered by a UWA-led team in Gascoyne Junction.
Lead researcher Aaron Hunter, an adjunct research fellow in UWA’s School of Earth Sciences, said the dinner-plate-sized find was a first in WA and the fossil site 173km east of Carnarvon one of the most spectacular in Australia.
“All these animals are perfectly preserved, frozen in time, in the very spot they died submerged by sediment during an underwater storm,” he said.
“Although it’s a dry bush landscape today, during the Permian period this was a polar seabed close to modern day Antarctica.
“It gives us a unique window to the seas of the polar past and how, like animals in the Southern Ocean today, they responded to climate change and global warming.”
The study was undertaken in partnership with Curtin University.