Research on fossils at the South Australian Museum involves two sections:
1) Fossils of organisms spanning more than 600 million years of Earth history from the Late Precambrian (Ediacaran to the Quaternary) including topics such as:
- Palaeoecology and environmental analysis of the Ediacara Biota
- Palaeobiology of the Early Cambrian fossils representing the “Cambrian explosion of animal life”
- Molecular biology of invertebrate and vertebrate animals in relation to the fossil record
- Cretaceous marine fossils of the Australian inland sea during the time of the dinosaurs
- The Cenozoic rise of vertebrate animals, including whales, reptiles and marsupial faunas of Australia.
2) Subfossils of the Holocene Epoch, from pre-European cave and rock-shelter deposits of South Australia, are used to identify recently extinct species and geographic ranges of small Australian mammals, reptile and birds.