Paleocene high-latitude leaf flora of Antarctica Part 1: Entire-margined angiosperms
Paleocene leaf floras are rare in high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, where studies have shown higher taxonomic diversity compared to Northern Hemisphere equivalents. The floras provide valuable insights into biodiversity and forest communities during the Paleocene. The Antarctic Peninsula hosts a wealth of Paleocene–Eocene floras which have been used to interpret climates before, during and after one of the most abrupt and transient warming events known from the geological record. The best-preserved and most diverse Paleocene macrofossils from this region come from the Cross Valley Formation, Seymour Island Group, which have previously provided evidence for warm temperate climates prior to the PETM. Here we present the taxonomy of leaf impressions from the Paleocene Cross Valley Flora for one species and ten new leaf morphotypes of entire-margined angiosperms. The new morphotypes provide evidence of an increased angiosperm diversity within cool-temperate Gondwanan forest inhabiting the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which contrasts with a lower floral diversity on the west side of the Peninsula during the late Paleocene.
Authors: Tosolini, Anne-Marie P., Cantrill, David J., Francis, Jane E.