Evolution and Adaptation of Australian Plants

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Explore 165 million years of Australia's evolution through student-focused, hands-on activities involving observation of actual plant fossils and examination of plant species growing in the Botanic Garden.


Stage 6 Biology
2 hours
Australian Botanic Garden
$13 per student. Minimum charges apply

What happens?

  • Recall the movement of the continental plates moving over millions of years, and explore that Australia was once part of Gondwana

  • Examine fossil evidence of Glossopteris, flora found in Australia and other parts of Gondwana 200 million years ago

  • Examine fossils of the extinct Agathis jurassica and compare this to living plant material from the modern kauri pine, and the Wollemi pine

  • Visit areas of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and observe the modern day relatives of the type of plants found in the southern conifer forests and broadleaf rainforests

  • Appreciate the rise of early angiosperms and their success compared to gymnosperms 

  • Gather and present information about flowers of native species of angiosperms, and identify features that are adaptations for wind, insect, bird and mammal pollination.

Students will...

  • Use fossils and plant materials to record observations about extinct and extant Australian native plants

  • Observe the living relatives southern conifer forests of the middle to late Cretaceous period and the broad-leaved rainforests of the early Tertiary period

  • Learn about the discovery and classification of the Wollemi pine

  • Study the pollination adaptations of Australian native plants.

It was great to use plant samples and fossils that we don't have at school. Covered many dot points and consolidated information.

Teacher, Aquinas Catholic College
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