Monster amphibian voted Vic fossil emblem

·1-min read

A monster 125-million-year-old extinct amphibian has been given a second life as Victoria's official state fossil emblem.

Resembling something between a huge newt and a crocodile, koolasuchus cleelandi has won the crown after a public vote that attracted more than 11,500 online votes.

The four-metre-long creature, which had ridged fangs for piercing prey and two-inch tusks growing from the roof of its mouth, lived alongside dinosaurs in Victoria during the Cretaceous period.

Fossils of koolasuchus, a play on words as the species lived in a cool environment when the state was deep in the southern polar circle, were first discovered in 1978 near San Remo in south Gippsland.

Koolasuchus cleelandi beat other unique state fossils, including a 25-million-year-old whale and one of the first plants to live outside water dating back 400 million years.

The car-sized amphibian joins the Leadbeater's possum (animal), helmeted honeyeater (bird), common seadragon (marine animal), common heath (flora) and gold (mineral) as a state emblem.

"Victorian state emblems recognise and celebrate the natural history of our region," Museums Victoria chief executive and director Lynley Crosswell said.

"Koolasuchus cleelandi is of global significance and it provides clues to the evolution of life on Earth and the past environments of Victoria."

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