How do you figure out how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere millions of years ago? In the Jurassic, the fossil forest at Curio Bay in New Zealand was probably growing in higher latitudes than any forest in the Southern Hemisphere today. The reasons… Read more
All posts filed under “New Zealand paleobotany”
What latitude did the Jurassic Fossil Forest of Curio Bay grow at?
The Jurassic fossil forest of Curio Bay today lies almost at the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. In the Jurassic, you could have walked from Curio Bay to what is now Australia and Antarctica (Dinosaurs may have done just that). We know from… 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
The Lost Forest of the Ashley River, Canterbury, New Zealand
A gem in the heart of Christchurch is Riccarton Bush (sometimes called Deans Bush). It’s a patch of original kahikatea forest, just a few hundred meters from the Riccarton shopping center (See Molloy,1995, for pretty much all you need to know about the forest). As anyone… 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
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
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
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
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 – 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