Corals in Mongolia – is there a better example of dramatic Earth-change?! The Gobi Altai -the mountains flanking the Gobi Desert, are far from the sea. They are semi- arid, bitterly cold in the winter, with lots of bare rock and virtually no trees. Nomadic… Read more
All posts tagged “fossils”
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
Hey – I tracked a Chinese dinosaur!
A small claim to fame….Last year I found some little dinosaur footprints in China, and the resulting paper has just been published on-line. I spent a year at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology as a Visiting Professor. The first field trip was to… Read more
How Tall were the trees in New Zealand’s Jurassic Fossil Forest at Curio Bay?
At Curio Bay near the southernmost point of New Zealand’’s South Island, you can walk around the remains of a Jurassic fossil forest. Tree stumps are still in their growth position, and fossilised logs criss-cross through the sandstone overlying them. So can we add these… Read more
New Zealand’s Hawks Crag Breccia – prelude to the drift from Gondwana
The New Zealand road network has some seriously quirky idiosyncrasies – little things we locals take for granted, but can cause some alarm to the ever-increasing number of tourists. There are, for example, hundreds of ‘one lane’ bridges. And about these, I was once asked,… Read more
Phyllocladus fossils from the Miocene of New Zealand, and Cretaceous Protophyllocladus
A rare plant fossil in the Miocene Manuherikia Group of New Zealand, is Phyllocladus (the Celery Pine). This is a strange conifer which, instead of leaves, the adult plant has multi-veined flattened branches that are called phylloclades. With these phylloclades, the average person would scarcely believe Phyllocladus is… Read more
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 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
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
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