Ediacara Hills // are a range of low hills in the northern part of the Flinders Ranges of South Australia, around 650 kilometres (400 mi) north of Adelaide. The area has many old copper and silver mines from mining activity during the late 19th century. The hills also contain fossils of early multicellular life forms, the Ediacaran biota (lagerstätte), and have given their name to the Ediacaran geological period.
There are other places on earth that have Ediacaran era fossils including localities in Newfoundland alongside the Atlantic Ocean.
There is a settlement named Ediacara in the Ediacara Hills region, but it is small. Due to the placement of the hills with respect to the Goyder Line, there is not much surface water and limited ground water.
There are two separate fossil sites within the region which have been granted heritage protection: the Ediacara Fossil Site - Nilpena is listed on the Australian National Heritage List, while the Ediacara Fossil Reserve Palaeontological Site, 20 km to its north, is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.
The name "Ediacara" has a disputed origin from one of the Aboriginal languages near the Flinders Range area. It is first known to have been used during the middle of the 19th century. Earlier Australian sources suggested that the "name ‘Ediacara’ or ‘Idiyakra’ may be derived from an Indigenous term associating it with a place near water."
However, "recent linguistic research has suggested that the term may be a mispronunciation of the two words ‘Yata Takarra’ meaning hard or stony ground in reference to the flat Ediacara plateau of dolostone that forms the centre of the Ediacara syncline."
Supporting this latter contention, it has been argued that the word "has nothing in it that corresponds to any word for water in any of the local languages" and that local tradition "has it that the name meant "granite plain", but, since there appears to be no igneous rock in the area, this could well refer to the hardness of the ground, rather than to its geological composition."
- List of fossil sites (with link directory)
- Ediacara Conservation Park
- Ediacara, South Australia
- Australian National Heritage List
- "Features, Briefing, Name change.". The Times (London). 27 May 2004. p. 9.
- Hickey, Georgina; Michael Lee (2005). "A New Age Begins.". Nature Australia. 28 (5): 9–10. ISSN 1324-2598.
- "Ediacara Fossil Site - Nilpena, Parachilna, SA, Australia". Australian National Heritage List. Department of the Environment. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- "Ediacara Fossil Reserve Palaeontological Site, Ediacara Conservation Reserve [Note that National Heritage Place 24300 Ediacara Fossil Site - Nilpena is 20km to the south]". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- Butcher, Andy (26 May 2004). "Re: Ediacaran". LISTSERV 16.0 - AUSTRALIAN-LINGUISTICS-L Archives. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "Place Details: Ediacara Fossil Site - Nilpena, Parachilna, SA , Australia". Australian Heritage Database. Commonwealth of Australia. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Australian Heritage Database, Place name: Ediacara Fossil Site - Nilpena, Parachilna, SA , Australia citing Knoll, A., Walter, M., Narbonne, G., & Christie-Blick, N (2004) The Ediacaran Period: A New Addition to the Geological Time Scale. Submitted on behalf of the Terminal Proterozoic Subcommission of the International Commission on Stratigraphy.
- Knoll, Andrew; Walter, Malcolm; Narbonne, Guy; Christie-Blick, Nicholas (March 2006). "The Ediacaran Period: a new addition to the geologic time scale". Lethaia. 39 (1): 13–30 at 25–6. ISSN 0024-1164. doi:10.1080/00241160500409223.
The name ‘Idiyakra’, or ‘Ediacara’, is Australian Aboriginal in origin and can be traced back to 1859 or a little earlier, when the first white pastoralists took up lands in the far north western Flinders Ranges. Its etymology links it to a place where water is or was present close by or about, either in the sense of the present or extending distantly into past wetter times. As water is synonymous with life in the harsh, arid lands of Australia, it is a fitting name for a time when the first megascopic marine animals evolved. As the records of early surveyors and State Parliamentary records show, the ending of the name sounded as a ‘kra’, ‘ker’, or ‘ka’, and hence the appropriate name of the Period is ‘Ediacaran’ (quoted from R.J.F. Jenkins, unpublished note 2003).
- Australian Heritage Database, Place name: Ediacara Fossil Site - Nilpena, Parachilna, SA , Australia citing a 2006 personal communication with J(ohn) McEntee
- University of California page on the Ediacara Hills
- EDIACARA RANGE entry in "Gazeteer of Australia". Commonwealth of Australia. Geoscience Australia.