The range of bioinclusions and pseudoinclusions preserved in a new Turonian (~90 Ma) amber occurrence from Southern Australia

Ann Quinney, Chris Mays, Jeffrey Darl Stilwell, Darla Zelenitsky, Francois Therrien

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A new Turonian amber occurrence, representing the oldest in situ amber locality in Australia and the southern-most locality in Gondwana, has recently been discovered in the Otway Basin of Victoria. The amber was collected from petroleum cores and many pieces contain a range of inclusions that can provide information on the depositional history of the resin. To date, one species of fern spore (Cyathidites minor) and one species of lycophyte spore (Kraeuselisporites sp?) have been conclusively identified in the amber, along with filamentous microorganisms and degraded plant matter. Several samples are also rife with pseudoinclusions as reported recently in other ambers. The abundance of preserved particulate debris and wind dispersed spores suggest that the Otway amber formed subaerially. Furthermore, based on the range of bioinclusions and forms of pseudoinclusions preserved within a single piece of amber, the locus of hardening for individual samples is variably interpreted as occurring in the tree tops, on the tree trunk or on the ground surface. Notably, specific inclusion assemblages are associated with certain colours of amber. By extension, and in accordance with recent studies, amber colour may be indicative of depositional environment. Variation in the environment of solidification may, therefore, be sufficient to account for the broad range of morphological characteristics preserved in a single amber deposit.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0121307
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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