Story: Evolution of plants and animals

Crocodile jawbone

Crocodile jawbone

This fossilised jawbone fragment is from an extinct crocodile that may have reached around 3 metres in length. It was found in lake sediments near St Bathans in Central Otago, and dates from around 16 million years ago. At this time the climate in New Zealand and Australia were similar, and they had many species in common. Since then New Zealand’s climate has cooled and mountains have formed – leading to differences in many of New Zealand’s life forms.

Using this item

Geology Museum, University of Otago
Photograph by R. Ewan Fordyce

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How to cite this page:

Matt McGlone, 'Evolution of plants and animals - Split from Gondwana', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 June 2024)

Story by Matt McGlone, published 24 Sep 2007