Invitation to time travel

Among many distinctions the concept of time travel must rate as one of the greatest flights for the imagination

Many still remember the exhilaration they felt when first asked:

What would you see if you traveled back in time?

You and your imagination are welcome to attend a screening of the classic dinosaur film, The Lost World.

It excited audiences nearly a century ago with dinosaurs from 68-160 millions years ago.

The screening on Saturday 17 April will feature an original soundtrack I’ve composed.

That story originated with Arthur Conan Doyle in 1912 and recent discussion of megaflora on subantarctic islands brought to mind the fascinating discoveries of megafauna in the Murrumbidgee.

Like so many dinosaurs that have captured in the public imagination, I can’t believe that diprotodon isn’t the word on everyone’s lips.

Evidence of this mega wombat was first found by Sir Mitchell (then Major) in caves near Lithgow during 1830.

Over the last century more diprotodon remains have been found in our region.

It’s surprising that if one wanted to meet dinosaurs, one wouldn’t need to travel back too far if a time machine were available.

“Megafauna — including oversized kangaroos and mega-lizards — died out thousands of years ago, but the Diprotodon could have survived on the Liverpool Plains of NSW until about 7,000 years ago, according to the Australian Museum.”

It’s unclear whether the giant wombat-looking creature died due to climate changes or human hunting, but remains have been identified as recently as 2019:

“Two Snowy Monaro Regional Council workers found the fossil at a place known for its paleontological richness, but kept secret from the public.”

The ABC article has a headline announcing this “Site a secret well kept by scientists” and one wonders whether that’s significant.

"It looks like a riverine deposit, so they've probably been washed down a river somehow," Dr McCurry said.

A diprotodon discovery outside Wagga in 1893 was unearthed while digging a well “at Downside, on what is known as Honlaghn's Creek (sic — probably Houghlahans Creek), which is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee.”

“The fossils were found in a bed of yellow sand at a depth of 29 feet, below a rich mass of alluvial soil, which forms the banks of the watercourse. A large number of detached, massive, mysterious bones were found, and they were eagerly seized by all the passers by who could get hold of them.

“Fortunately, Mr. C. H. Croakey, an auctioneer, had nous enough to send some of them to the Sydney Museum, where they were at once recognised as the bones pf the extinct Diprotodon,” (Illustrated Sydney News, Sat 6 May 1893,  page 12.)

The Murrumbidgee region must be rich in riverine deposits but not all the creatures from prehistoric times will be found in layers of sediment.

It’s interesting to consider that contemporaries of dinosaurs can still be found in our landscapes.

Please come to the screening of The Lost World on Saturday 17 April at CWA Hall from 7pm and we will discuss the local species that might be considered as time travellers.