Winding alongside the Yea Wetlands Discovery Centre is the Yea Fossil Time Path. As you wander along the path you travel a representation of this land’s geological history. As the geological eras pass beneath your feet, plaques to mark each of the periods you travel through are placed to either side of your journey along the snake shaped path.
The Geological Timescale divides the history of the Earth into four eons that are divided into eras and then periods. The Yea Fossil Time Path begins at the start of the Palaeozoic Era. Contained within this era you will find the Silurian Period with the earliest recorded vascular land plant, the historic Yea Baragwanathia. The path then travels through the Mesozoic Era, the Age of Reptiles known best for its dinosaurs, and the Cenozoic Era where the first human footsteps were made upon this land.
These three eras form the Phanerozoic Eon, the youngest of the four eons that span the geological history of the Earth.
Rocks in the Yea district contain fossils of some of the world’s earliest land plants. The most important of these fossils is Baragwanathia longifolia. It belongs to a group of primitive, non-flowering plants called club mosses or lycopods. The fossil plant shows remarkable adaptions that helped it and other plants make the difficult transition from life in the seas to life on land.
You can view a sample of the Yea Baragwanathia longifolia at the Yea Wetlands Discovery Centre.