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Tracking through time

Found!! The unexpected discovery of living plants of the Wollemi Pine, a new conifer belonging to the family Araucariaceae, means we can reassess and compare a range of Araucarian fossil plants going back about 116 million years to the early Cretaceous age.

Fresh leaf material and male and female Wollemi cones have now been compared with fossils from the Koonwarra beds in South Gippsland (south-east Victoria) and with fossils from other parts of eastern Australia. It seems likely that the Wollemi Pine was once present over an extensive area of eastern Australia; and possibly over a very much wider geographic range including Antarctica, New Zealand and possibly India and southern South America.

It’s also likely it was widely present over a vast time span from the Mesozoic to the Tertiary (250-1.6 million years ago).


  • *Chambers T C, Drinnan A N & McLoughlin S, 1998, ‘Some morphological features of Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis, Araucariaceae) and their comparison to Cretaceous plant fossils’, International Journal of Plant Science, 159: 160-171.
  • Macphail M, Hill K, Partridge A, Truswell E & Foster C, 1995, ‘Wollemi Pine - old pollen records for a newly discovered genus of gymnosperm’, Geology Today, 11: 48-49.

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