Home / Learning / Science Topics / Fossils / NZ fossils / Fossils in the NZ rock record

Fossils in the New Zealand rock record

  • The past 100 million years (Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic time) - The fossil record from this period is excellent, especially over the past 20–30 million years, when diverse and well-preserved animals and plants developed a distinctive New Zealand appearance.
  • 250–100 million years ago (Late Permian to Early Cretaceous age) – These fossils are less common, their distribution is patchy and they are not usually as well preserved.
  • 510–250 million years ago (Paleozoic age) - These fossils have been ravaged by time, so tend to be fragmented, distorted and altered.
  • Older than 510 million years ago - No fossils of this age are known from New Zealand.

Learn more about The New Zealand Geological Timescale.