Marine Science Faculty Publications

New Species from the Sabrina Flora: An Early Paleogene Pollen and Spore Assemblage from the Sabrina Coast, East Antarctica

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Paleocene, Eocene, Aurora Basin, Sabrina Coast, East Antarctica, Gambierina, Battenipollis

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Palynological analyses of 13 samples from two sediment cores retrieved from the Sabrina Coast, East Antarctica provide rare information regarding the paleovegetation within the Aurora Basin, which today is covered by the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. The assemblages, hereafter referred to as the Sabrina Flora, are dominated by angiosperms, with complexes of Gambierina (G.) rudata and G. edwardsii representing 38–66% of the assemblage and an abundant and diverse Proteaceae component. The Sabrina Flora also includes Battenipollis sectilis, Forcipites sp. and Nothofagidites (N.) spp. (mostly belonging to the N. cf. rocaensis-cf. flemingii complex), along with a few fern spores, including Laevigatosporites ovatus, a moderate presence of conifers, and previously undescribed angiosperm morphospecies. Two of these, Battenipollis sabrinae sp. nov. and being Gambierina askiniae sp. nov., are described herein. A majority of the assemblage is interpreted as deposited contemporaneously with sedimentation, including Gambierina spp., which is traditionally assigned a Cretaceous–earliest Eocene age range. However, our age diagnosis for the Sabrina Flora, based on key morphospecies, indicates that sediment was most likely deposited between the latest Paleocene to early–middle Eocene, and that Gambierina rudata and G. edwardsii extended longer than previously proposed.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Palynology, v. 43, issue 4, p. 650-659