Megaspores from the Lower Jurassic Rotzo Formatin and their palaeoenvironmental implications

Mirco Neri, Evelyn Kustatscher & Guido Roghi

The Rotzo Formation is famous for its Lower Jurassic terrestrial flora and marine (invertebrate) and terrestrial (dinosaur footprint) fauna. However, lycophyte macrofossils were never described from this time period in Italy, although palynological analyses yielded abundant lycophyte spores. Dispersed megaspores, in association with charcoal and amber drops, were recently collected from several horizons and outcrops of the Monte Lessini area. Sedimentological and palaeontological data reconstruct the palaeoenvironment as a paralic swamp under a warm and humid (monsoonal) climate. This is the first record of Jurassic megaspores from Italy, increasing our understanding of Jurassic lycophyte diversity, since at least five microspore and five megaspore genera with selaginellalean botanical affinities can be distinguished. Moreover, this underlines how well these brackish environments were adapted for the preservation of fossil plant remains (including amber).

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