• Biogeography;
  • catastrophic disturbance;
  • climate;
  • leaf morphology;
  • plant evolution

HILL, R. S., 1991. Tertiary Nothofagus (Fagaceae) macrofossils from Tasmania and Antarctica and their bearing on the evolution of the genus. Eight new species of Nothofagus are described from Tertiary deposits in Tasmania and West Antarctica, based on leaves and cupules. Several other species are re-examined. The new species include the first fossil species in the subgenera Brassopora and Nothofagus with organic preservation, and the first substantial description of fossil reproductive structures. The fossils demonstrate that by the Oligocene most of the evolution within the genus was complete, although there have been changes in leaf morphology since, which are probably directly related to climatic changes. The change in distribution of the subgenera in Australasia during the Tertiary is considered, and temperature changes and catastrophic disturbance are identified as two important factors affecting the distribution of Nothofagus.