Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

A Gold Medal for the World’s Oldest Life

By John Long

To enable science to match media coverage of sport, maybe we need to award some gold medals.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

It’s funny how many sporting metaphors are used in everyday speeches by politicians or journalists. Sport gets much higher billing than science any day in any general news media. One just has to buy a newspaper (yes, the hard copy version) and note the last few pages are covered in sporting news or there is a separate lift-out section dedicated to sport.

Not so for science – usually the odd small column or article here and there if some big discovery is announced that journalists and their editors deem comprehensible enough to be able to turn into a news story. I recall the good ol’ days when I lived in Perth in the late 1980s. Every Monday there was a 16-page lift-out in The West Australian all about science and medical research. Eventually it was cut down to eight and then four pages, and then scrapped altogether.

To gain more headlines maybe science news needs to be treated like covering sport. I like to think that if Australia was competing in the Evolutionary Olympics we would bag an inordinately large number of gold medals for the oldest this, the first that or the biggest such and such. This is the first in a series of articles that will discuss the recent evidence for claims of Australian records in palaeontology.

Our first gold medal might be awarded to the country with the oldest and best-preserved fossil life on the planet. Australia has...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.