Queensland Herbarium, Toowong, Qld 4066, Australia.
Early Eocene plant-fossil assemblages (mostly of dispersed cuticle) from Strahan-Regatta Point, Tasmania, Australia, record evidence of mesothermal rainforest (mean annual temperatures between 12 and 20ºC) and mangrove vegetation surrounding an estuary, which grew close to the polar circle. Plant taxa represented by cuticle include: Bowenia (Cycadales), conifers, including Acmopyle, Agathis, Araucaria, Dacrycarpus, Libocedrus, Prumnopitys, and a gnetalean. Fifty-five taxa of angiosperms are recognised from cuticle, including Winteraceae, 11 Lauraceae (including an unusual toothed species) and seven Proteaceae as well as Gymnostoma, Aquifoliaceae, and Rhipogonaceae. There is also a Rhizophoraceae, which is interpreted as another mangrove, in addition to the mangrove palm Nypa, which has been described previously. In an Australasian context the absence of Myrtaceae is notable.
Multivariate analysis of the fossil distribution suggests that a significant amount of the variation can be attributed to whether they accumulated in the mangrove mud (or associated tidal sand flat) or in a freshwater facies.
KEY WORDS: Early Eocene, cuticle, stomata, mangrove, biodiversity, paleoclimate
PE Article Number: 10.3.16A. Copyright: Society of Vertebrate Paleontology December 2007