Monthly archives of “March 2016

Manuherikia Group, New Zealand
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Miocene Nothofagus in New Zealand’s Manuherikia Group

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Nothofagus leaf fossils in New Zealand is – not finding them. Nothofagus is another name for the southern beech trees that form forests in New Zealand, as well as Australia, Patagonia, New Caledonia and New Guinea. As a group, the beeches are… Read more

Fossil Allocasuarina, Miocene Manuherikia Group, New Zealand
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Interdistributary drifters – a Miocene bay in New Zealand

One of the more evocative Miocene fossils you might pick up near Bannockburn, New Zealand, are she-oak ‘cones’ (see the featured image). The Latin name is Casuarina (but see ‘Technical Details’, below). This is a plant that no-longer grows naturally in New Zealand, but is a  tree in… Read more

Podozamites fossil from New Zealand Jurasic
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Podozamites – a multi-veined conifer in New Zealand’s Jurassic

Most conifer leaves have just one vein, whether they be the needles of pines, or the much broader leaves of some tropical conifers. This limits their size and shape (they mostly stay small and can’t do fancy stuff like many flowering plant leaves). Just two… Read more

Miocene leaf fossil from Blue Lake, St Bathans, Manuherikia Group, New Zealand
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Blue Lake, St Bathans – the most biodiverse Miocene fossil plant locality

The biodiversity of Blue Lake, at St Bathans, New Zealand, is precisely zero. It is an artificial lake partly filling a hole blasted out in the search for gold in the 19th century. The hole is directly in front of one of St Bathan’s and New… Read more

Fossil pea pod (legume) from the Miocene Miocene Manuherikia Group of New Zealand
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Giant Pea Pod fossils in New Zealand’s Miocene

Pea pod fossils in New Zealand were first found by Aline Holden, a pioneer of New Zealand plant fossil research. She found the first ones at Bannockburn in 1981, while working on her PhD, and then found more in the Nevis Valley. In 1987, my… Read more