First record from Australia of the Cretaceous fern genus and the description of a new species, <i>T. judithae</i>

  • Clifford H
  • Dettmann M
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Abstract

Silicified fragments of false-trunks of the fern, Tempskya judithae sp. nov., are described from lower Cretaceous (latest Albian) sediments near Winton, central-western Queensland. The species is characterised by a three-layered sclerenchymatous cortex and a two-layered pith of sclerenchyma cells. In possessing these characters, T. judithae is more similar to T. readii than to other species of Tempskya. However, the Australian species differs from T. readii in the abaxial shape of the petiole xylem trace (concave in T. judithae, convex in T. readii) and in symmetry attributes of the leaf-bases within the false-trunk (random in T. judithae and radially symmetrical in T. readii). T. judithae is the first record of Tempskya from Australia and the second from Gondwana; the known distribution range of the genus embraces a broad area in mid-high latitudinal regions of Laurasia and the Gondwana record now comprises Australia and Argentina. Ecological signals of plant fossil assemblages recorded from the Australian sediments are in accord with flood plain habitats and a temperate climatic regime.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Albian
  • Australia
  • Cretaceous
  • Tempskya

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Authors

  • H Trevor Clifford

  • Mary E Dettmann

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