The South Australian Museum is a major centre of exciting scientific discovery. Our institution plays an important global role as our scientists work to understand and conserve Australia's natural and cultural heritage for current and future generations.

Researchers embark on amazing adventures across the world to discover and describe new species of fauna and their relationship with the environment, provide valuable advice to policymakers, lawyers and corporations, and act as custodians of the Museum's extensive national collections.

Our scientists are world leaders in fields such as evolutionary biology, mineralogy, palaeontology and terrestrial invertebrates. UNLOCKED brings you the hidden gems from the South Australian Museum.

Be inspired as you unearth the secrets of our science.

  • 20 October 2014

    Nature Paper Reveals Evolution of Reproduction in Ancient Fish

    Ancient, super-breeding fish are the stars of evolutionary research carried out by South Australian Museum Palaeontologist Dr Mike Lee and colleagues, which has been published online today in the prestigious journal Nature.

    The most primitive, jawed fish – antiarch placoderms – were probably the first vertebrate species to reproduce by internal fertilisation. The research confirms that external fertilisation in prehistoric fish (such as spawning) evolved later.

    This research was led by Flinders University Professor John Long, who is also a South Australian Museum Honorary Research Associate, along with a large international team, including Dr Lee and Dr Brian Choo (Flinders University).

  • 02 October 2014

    Explore Creatures of the Night

    Live animals, science theatre and night time tours of the South Australian Museum are all on offer this week as visitors are invited on an adventure into the world of the night creatures.

    The Museum is flooded with families for its School Holiday Programme (29 September – 3 October), designed to connect audiences with the science of the night world: what is there, how it survives and how can we protect it. The Night Creatures programme is an opportunity to teach people about the mammals, reptiles and insects that are around them while they sleep.

  • 01 August 2014

    Museum Researcher Reveals How Dinosaurs Evolved Into Birds

    Our everyday feathered friends are fast-evolving relatives of dinosaurs, according to a new study published today by Adelaide scientist Dr Mike Lee and colleagues, in the prestigious journal Science.

    Senior Research Scientist Dr Mike Lee (jointly appointed at the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide) already has a fascinating portfolio of studies into ancient life. In his latest paper published in Science, his team used sophisticated mathematical modelling to trace how adaptations and body size evolved across the dinosaur family tree.