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Honours student
Rachel Oertel

I am an Honours student at Flinders University doing my fourth year of a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Enhanced Program for High Achievers. My Honours project is investigating the specifics of the Curramulka Local Fauna, a relatively unstudied fauna from the late Miocene (23–5.3 Ma) or early Pliocene (5.3–2.6 Ma). The fauna is all from the Corra-Lynn cave system on the Yorke Peninsula from a number of sites hypothesised to be of the same age due to similarity in fossil preservation and the sediment the fossils were found in. The fauna is very interesting with a number of unique species being described from there including a small thylacine, Thylacinus yorkellus, a giant ringtail possum Pseudokoala curramulkensis, and a giant koala Phascolarctos yorkensis. My project is looking to identify all mammalian fossil material currently available from the cave site (previously brought out by cave explorers who mapped the large and complex cave system). Using the identified mammalian species, I am aiming to define the time period and environment from when the fossils were deposited as only a very general understanding of these specifics are currently known.