Palynological-age determination of Early Cretaceous vertebrate-bearing beds along the south Victorian coast of Australia, with implications for the spore-pollen biostratigraphy of the region

Barbara E. Wagstaff, Stephen J. Gallagher, W. Michael Hall, Vera A. Korasidis, Thomas H. Rich, Doris E. Seegets-Villiers, Patricia A. Vickers-Rich

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Palynology is used to provide new age controls for the coastal exposures yielding Early Cretaceous vertebrate faunas in the Otway and Gippsland basins, southeast Australia. This work shows all vertebrate-bearing deposits in the Otway Basin are Albian in age. On the eastern margin of Cape Otway, vertebrate-bearing deposits are attributed to the early Albian Crybelosporites striatus Zone, except for one in the younger Coptospora paradoxa Zone. To the west of Cape Otway, the sampled deposits range from the oldest zone in the Albian, the C. striatus Zone, to the C. paradoxa and Phimopollenites pannosus zones, providing a complete section of the Albian stage. In the Gippsland Basin, the structural setting of vertebrate deposits is more complicated and large portions of the coastal exposures consist of repeated sections controlled by small-scale faults. Sites in this region lie below or above the Barremian/Aptian boundary. However, owing to the paucity of age indicator species, some sampled deposits remain undated. In this basin, the ranges of certain key palynomorph species (e.g., Pilosisporites notensis and Pilosisporites parvispinosus) differed from those outlined in some previously published biostratigraphic schemes. The discovery of the angiosperm pollen Clavatipollenites hughesii in the lowermost Aptian deposits of the Gippsland Basin is consistent with its first occurrence elsewhere in Australia and shows it is a reliable indicator for the Aptian stage. This study shows that there is currently a collection bias towards vertebrate assemblages that are latest Barremian and early Albian in age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-474
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


  • Early Cretaceous
  • Gippsland Basin
  • Otway Basin
  • palynology
  • vertebrate fossils

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