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.

  • 15 May 2015

    Online volunteers help scientists speed up species discovery and focus research

    Worldwide, an estimated five million invertebrate species are yet to be described. Invertebrates – animals without a backbone or vertebral column – are the most abundant group of animals on earth and yet they are the least documented. In Australia alone there are around 98,000 described species and an estimated 222,000 that are still unknown to science.

    Scientists seeking to describe these species must compare them to similar specimens, held in natural history museums across Australia and around the world. Much of the important information on these specimens is only found on their collection label or in handwritten journals or registers.

    The South Australia Museum holds around two million specimens in its terrestrial invertebrate collection and around 1.75 million marine invertebrates. The Museum has begun a digitisation program to help address this backlog.

  • 08 April 2015

    From the Cambrian of Kangaroo Island to the Ordovician of Morocco

    The April 2015 Sprigg lecture at the SA Museum was given by Dr Diego García-Bellido and entitled  ‘From the Cambrian of Kangaroo Island to the Ordovician of Morocco’. 

    Find out more about the lecture and listen to an interview with Dr García-Bellido here.

  • 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).