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Keywords:

  • Amber;
  • Biostratigraphy;
  • Early Cretaceous;
  • Kirkwood Formation;
  • Plant Cuticles;
  • South Africa;
  • Taphonomy

The first Mesozoic amber for Africa was recently reported from the Middle-Upper Valanginian of the Kirkwood Formation (Algoa Basin, Republic of South Africa). A palaeobotanical and taphonomical study is performed here on the amber-bearing strata. Palaeobotanical remains indicate a warm to hot, semi-arid climate. Taphonomic analysis of the plant debris shows that the assemblage is allochthonous and was the result of transport by high energy flooding events and subsequent deposition in crevasse splay or over bank deposit. However, the plant fragmentation was probably previously initiated in the leaf litter, whose decay was probably slowed down by a combination of biological and climatic factors. The different oxidation degrees of amber also support a certain residence time in contact with the atmosphere and possible reworking.