We report the first fossil pollen from South America of the lineage that includes the recently discovered, extremely rare Australian Wollemi Pine, Wollemia nobilis (Araucariaceae). The grains are from the late Paleocene to early middle Eocene Ligorio Márquez Formation of Santa Cruz, Patagonia, Argentina, and are assigned to Dilwynites, the fossil pollen type that closely resembles the pollen of modern Wollemia and some species of its Australasian sister genus, Agathis. Dilwynites was formerly known only from Australia, New Zealand, and East Antarctica. The Patagonian Dilwynites occurs with several taxa of Podocarpaceae and a diverse range of cryptogams and angiosperms, but not Nothofagus. The fossils greatly extend the known geographic range of Dilwynites and provide important new evidence for the Antarctic region as an early Paleogene portal for biotic interchange between Australasia and South America.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)