The National Heritage List was created in January 2004 to recognise, celebrate and protect places of outstanding heritage value to the nation. One aspect of natural heritage that has been little explored is Australia's wealth of exceptional fossil sites. While a small number of fossil sites have risen to public prominence, there are many lesser known sites that have important heritage values. The Australian Heritage Council engaged palaeontologists from state museums and the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery to compile lists of outstanding fossil sites and to document their characteristics and relative importance against a range of categories, with a view to further our understanding about Australia's important fossil heritage. Sites that were listed for National or World Heritage values were not included in the places for consideration, with the focus being on lesser-known but still important sites.
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