All posts filed under “New Zealand plant fossils

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New Zealand’s first fossil horsetails in millions of years

With the precious fossils laid out carefully on a sun-hat held in my hands, I took a confident stride from one boulder to the next. And slipped. My left knee cap took the full impact of my body on another boulder, about a meter down.… Read more

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Deciduous Conifers in New Zealand’s Jurassic Fossil Forest at Curio Bay

As you pull up in the car park above the fossil forest at Curio Bay (Pole 1999, 2001, 2004, 2009), there is a wonderful patch of living, native forest, just behind. Its conifers, like all New Zealand conifers today, are evergreen. But what of Curio… Read more

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The Biggest Tree Stump in the Curio Bay Jurassic Forest

Back in the late 1980s I had the pleasure of meeting the English scientist David Bellamy. Bellamy was famous at the time as ‘The Botanic Man’, and he was in New Zealand to film for ‘Moa’s Ark’, a TV series and book about the development of… Read more

Miocene Lauraceae leaf fossil, Manuherikia Group, New Zealand
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The Amazing Miocene Fossil Leaf Pack of Mata Creek, New Zealand

I was crouched in a long boat somewhere up a rainforest-swathed river in Kalimatan, Borneo, when I saw it – a ‘living’ example of a fossil leaf pack I had once seen in New Zealand. Several years before, I had been exploring down a little… Read more

Miocene Nothofagus leaf and Allocasuarina fruits, New Zealand, Manuherikia Group, New Zealand
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Miocene Rain and Fire Forests of Bannockburn

Canungra is the perfect place to stop for a snack on the drive up to O’Reilly’s/Lamington National Park in southeastern Queensland. On a weekend you can grab a latte and pie and sit outside a cafe, watching the biker crowd doing pretty much the same… Read more

Miocene Retrophyllum fossil, Manuherikia Group, New Zealand
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Miocene Swamp Forests of St Bathans, New Zealand

The white sands and muds surrounding Blue and ‘Grey’ Lakes at St Bathans were laid down in a braided river (Manuherikia Group; Douglas 1986). About twenty million years ago, in the Miocene period, It was flowing from the New Zealand hinterland in the west to… Read more

Fossil Metrosideros fruits. Miocene, Manuherikia Group, New Zealand
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New Zealand’s Rata and Pohutakawa – riders of the Miocene storms?

There is a Maori legend than when one of their ancestral canoes (the Te Arawa) approached New Zealand after traveling from its Pacific homeland, its crew saw the trees along the coast covered in red. Thinking these were abundant red-feathered birds, a chief thew away his priceless… Read more

Equisetum fossil New Zealand Jurassic
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Horsetail Marshes of the New Zealand Jurassic

In the Jurassic, New Zealand had ‘horsetails’ (Latin: Equisetum) – an odd-looking plant , a bit like a long brush with whorls of narrow leaves and are related to ferns. Apart from their shape some of the extinct forms had a strange ‘diaphram’ attached to their… Read more

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