Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) Charophyte Gyrogonites from the Lameta Formation of Jabalpur, Central India: Palaeobiogeographic and Palaeoecological Implications

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Abstract

A charophyte gyrogonite assemblage consisting of Platychara cf. sahnii, Nemegtichara grambastii and Microchara sp. is reported herein from two localities (Bara Simla Hill and Chui Hill sections) of the Lameta Formation at Jabalpur. he Lameta Formation locally underlying the Deccan traps has been shown to be pedogenically modified alluvial plain deposits containing one of the most extensive dinosaur nesting sites in the world. They are associated with dinosaur bones and freshwater ostracod assemblages that suggest a Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) age. This is the first detailed systematic account of charophyte gyrogonites from the Lameta Formation. This charophyte assemblage is compatible with the biostratigraphic attribution provided by the ostracods. From a biogeographic viewpoint, it exhibits considerable similarity to other infratrappean assemblages of the Nand, Dongargaon, and Dhamni-Pavna sections (Maharashtra), and some intertrappean assemblages of Kora in Gujarat, Rangapur in Andhra Pradesh and Gurmatkal in South India. Globally, the genus Microchara is well distributed throughout Eurasia, whereas the genus Platychara occurs richly in the Upper Cretaceous deposits of Europe, Asia, America and Africa. However, at the specific level, Platychara cf. sahnii shows close affinities with charophytes from the Maastrichtian of Iran whilst Nemegtichara grambastii shows distinct affinities with two species of Early Palaeogene deposits of China and Mongolia. The presence of charophyte gyrogonites in the Lameta sediments is attributed to local lacustrine and palustrine conditions within a flood plain environment.

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