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Re-examination of the palynological content of the Lower Cretaceous deposits of Angeac, Charente, south-west France: Age, palaeoenvironment and taxonomic determinations

Abstract : Further to the work published by Néraudeau et al. six years ago, palynological matter recovered from the lignitic bone bed of Angeac in Charente (south-west France) has been re-examined in order to provide more evidence of its age, the previous Hauterivian–Barremian interpretation being regarded as controversial. The samples come from four sedimentological units, An2–An5, which together yielded an assemblage of 34 species, taxonomically dominated by palaeoecologically significant lygodiaceous verrucate spores, including eight species attributable to the genus Concavissimisporites and three species of Trilobosporites. A few bisaccate pollen grains, including Vitreisporites pallidus, have been recovered, but the gymnospermous pollen spectrum is clearly dominated by the cheirolepidiaceous genus Classopollis, its abundance diminishing progressively upwards from units An4 to An2. The great abundance and diversity of verrucate forms, along with the presence of other spores typical of Lower Cretaceous deposits, such as Aequitriradites verrucosus, and the scarcity of specimens referable to Cicatricosisporites, render this assemblage most similar to those of the Hastings Group of southern England, and the Bückeberg Formation in north-western Germany. The time of deposition is, therefore, more likely to have been Berriasian–Valanginian rather than Hauterivian–Barremian, as previously stated. The associated small assemblage of megaspores is consistent with this determination. Except for Trilobosporites and Concavissimisporites, the use of several other genera commonly applied to Mesozoic verrucate spores, such as Converrucosisporites and Impardecispora, is considered unnecessary. To support this assertion, a Principal Components Analysis has been carried out on 120 verrucate spores from sedimentological units An2–4, taking into account ten morphological variables. The results show that specimens attributable to Trilobosporites are well be separated from the main cluster, which corresponds to Concavissimisporites, underlining the futility of using more than two genera for the species concerned.
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France Polette, David Batten, Didier Néraudeau. Re-examination of the palynological content of the Lower Cretaceous deposits of Angeac, Charente, south-west France: Age, palaeoenvironment and taxonomic determinations. Cretaceous Research, Elsevier, 2018, 90, pp.204-221. ⟨10.1016/j.cretres.2018.04.017⟩. ⟨insu-01777661⟩

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