Project Palynological and palaeobotanical insights into Late Cretaceous ecosystems, climate and vegetation development:…

Basic data

Palynological and palaeobotanical insights into Late Cretaceous ecosystems, climate and vegetation development: Examples from northern Gondwana (Egypt)
01/12/2019 to 31/05/2021
Abstract / short description:
The Cretaceous was a period with a relatively warm climate. During this time, flowering plants, as well as new groups of mammals and birds, appeared. Angiosperms spread during this period, although they did not become predominant near the end of it. The first representatives of many leafy trees, including figs, planes and magnolias, appeared in the Cretaceous. At the same time, some earlier Mesozoic gymnosperms continued to thrive and other conifers being notably plentiful and widespread. Some fern orders such as Gleicheniales appeared as early in the fossil record as the Cretaceous, and achieved an early broad distribution. The Tethys Sea connecting the tropical oceans east to west also helped to warm the global climate, warm-adapted plant fossils are known from localities worldwide. Henceforth, the current palaeobotanical and palynological study of the Upper Cretaceous in the north Western Desert, Egypt helps greatly in understanding the Cretaceous ecosystems and climate development in such an important period in Earth’s history.
Despite considerable research has been undertaken on calcareous nannofossils and foraminifera in the north Western Desert, Egypt, there was a desperate need for ever-increasing biostratigraphic resolution, especially in understanding the ecosystem evolution and climate reconstruction, and this requires new approaches. Palynology is an underutilized field in Egypt, and this application provides an opportunity to demonstrate its effectiveness in the study of burial history and source rock potential which are key issues in understanding the geological development of the region. Vitrinite reflectance (Ro), fluorescence and spore-pollen coloration index will be used to evaluate the Cretaceous source rocks from north Western Desert. This work will be performed with palynofacies and palynostratigraphic analyses and organic geochemistry for these deposits. This combination of studies will refine the geological history of a relatively poorly studied area palynologically, which is of immense regional economic interest. In addition, the current study ultimately aims to add new information on the climate and vegetation development and palaeoenvironmental dynamics during Cretaceous ecosystems. The proposed project mostly relies on the palynological and palaeobotanical investigations of 120 samples from two deep wells and surface exposures representing the Upper Cretaceous in the north Western Desert, Egypt.

Involved staff


Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen
Palaeobiology Research Area
Department of Geoscience, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Department of Geoscience
Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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