Lark Quarry

via Winton
S 23’009.79, E 142’29.761

Around 95 million years ago a herd of small two legged dinosaurs gathered on the banks of a forest lake near Winton. The herd was attacked by a four tonne theropod and stampeded in a panic across the muddy flats.

A record of this dramatic encounter is cast in more than 3300 fossilised footprints at the Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways. Lark Quarry, 120 kilometres south west of Winton, is currently the only recorded dinosaur stampede on earth. In this place, around 95 million years ago, a large herd of small two legged dinosaurs gathered on the banks of a forest lake to drink.

The herd was stalked by a large theropod – four tonnes of sharp-clawed, meat-eating dinosaur. The herd panicked, stampeding across the muddy flats to escape the theropod’s hungry jaws.

A record of those few terrifying minutes is cast in more than 3300 fossilised footprints. The footprints tell us about a cooler, wetter world, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the mammal’s time is yet to come.

When Winton was a forested wetland, the region was full of incredible prehistoric creatures such as:

Sauropods:

Sauropods were the largest animals to ever walk on the Earth. These giant dinosaurs had long necks and tails, proportionately small heads, and massive elephant like legs. These plant-eating dinosaurs, lived on the forested plains, and had to eat enormous quantities of vegetation to survive. To aid in the breakdown of woody plants, they ingested stones called gastroliths, which remained in their stomach and ground their food.

Theropods:

Theropods were a group of meat-eating dinosaurs, or carnivores. They were wide-spread in Australia, and their remains have been found in at least three States. Theropods ran quickly on strong hind legs, grabbing their prey with the claws on their short, front limbs. Their feet had three toes and their strong jaws were equipped with an arsenal of dagger like teeth.

Ornithopods: 
Ornithopods were herbivorous dinosaurs found across all seven continents. They ranged from small chicken sized animals to beasts of 7-9 metres long.

Ancient animals we see today 
Some ancient animals survived extinction and can still be seen today. Crocodiles, turtles, and small bivalves have been found with the dinosaurs of the Winton Formation. These animals allow scientists to build a picture of the ancient land and seascape present 95 million years ago in Central Queensland.

How can I experience Dinosaur Country?
Visit the conservation park: Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways are conserved in an ecologically sustainably designed building in Lark Quarry Conservation Park. Visitors drive north from Jundah, or south west from Winton along a gravel road.

Winton Dinosaur Preparation Project:
Help bring these prehistoric giants back to life! Get hands on with real dinosaur bones, and help to prepare fossils for display. Get your hands on fossils at Age of Dinosaurs.

For more information
For more information about activities in Winton head to the Waltzing Matilda Centre(Phone: 1300 665 115).

Heading WestStop for a cold one at Middleton’s pub before admiring the mesa at Cawnpore Lookout. Browse the marine reptile fossils at Boulia’s Stonehouse Museum and have yourself a Min Min Encounter. Are these eerie lights a result of geological forces or something more sinister?Your next geo-stop, heading west:
Cawnpore Lookout
Heading EastVisit Winton’s Waltzing Matilda Centre for a dose of Australian folklore and the rustic mining settlement of Opalton to search for treasure. Travel on to Longreach, home to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, and Starlight’s Lookout, the jump-up used in the infamous cattle heist.Your next geo-stop, heading east:
Opal fossicking in Opalton