Taronga Zoo’s Nikki Bodel teaches Bishop Druitt College students Olivia Telford a thing or two about Bungee the possum at the Australian Biota Study Day yesterday.
Taronga Zoo’s Nikki Bodel teaches Bishop Druitt College students Olivia Telford a thing or two about Bungee the possum at the Australian Biota Study Day yesterday.

Studies cover 165 million yrs

FOSSILS, extinct species and the coevolution of plants, animals and insects were on the agenda for Year 11 students yesterday as they learnt a lesson or two from the experts.

It was day two of a series of Australian Biota Study Days at the garden, where hundreds of students from right across the region – some from as far as Port Macquarie – learnt the ins and outs of biology from the boffins at Taronga Zoo and the Australian Museum.

“This is the fourth year we’ve hosted this event, which has proven to be a very valuable experience for all the students that have participated,” Botanic Garden curator Ian Corbett said.

“It’s a rare opportunity for local schools to access the combined resources and expertise of these national education providers right here in Coffs Harbour.”

Through first hand investigations, each of the Year 11 biology students were exposed to 165 million years of Australia’s evolutionary path from the forests of Gondwana to the present.

Students were also able to use scientific techniques to compare extinct and living species, discover pollination mechanisms and the coevolution of plants, animals and insects.

Staff from the Australian Museum brought fossils of some of the gigantic ancestors of today’s koalas and wombats that inhabited the continent some 40,000 years ago, while Taronga Zoo introduced some of its present-day inhabitants, such as echidnas, blue-tongued lizards and snakes to show how they have adapted.

The Regional Botanic Garden’s own experts are taking students on the evolutionary journey.

The Australian Biota Study Days will run until June 11.



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