In 2001 a partial skeleton of an Iguanodon was discovered in the Upper Weald Clay (Barremian, Early Cretaceous) at Smokejacks Brickworks near Ockley, Surrey, UK. When the dinosaur was excavated, a detailed stratigraphic section was logged and 25 samples taken for palynological and micropalaeontological (ostracod and megaspore) analysis, including a detailed sample set of the dinosaur bed itself. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the palynoflora revealed rich and well-preserved non-marine assemblages of pollen and spores, including early angiosperms, and freshwater green algae. Four types of angiosperm pollen are described and assigned to the genus Retimonocolpites Pierce, 1961, but left in open nomenclature. Some marine elements such as dinoflagellate cysts are identified as the result of reworking of Middle and Upper Jurassic sediments. The pollen/spore assemblages depict a vegetational change from principally gymnosperm-dominated assemblages at the base to principally pteridophyte-dominated assemblages at the top of the section. The dinosaur bed shows a pteridophyte-dominated assemblage, with a significantly high amount of the freshwater green alga Scenedesmus novilunaris He Cheng-quan et al., 1992. Samples close to the dinosaur bed yielded the first useful ostracod finds from Smokejacks Brickworks: well-preserved assemblages containing Cypridea clavata (Anderson, 1939), Damonella cf. pygmaea (Anderson, 1941), Stenestroemia cf. cressida Anderson, 1971 and Stenestroemia sp. A, and fragments and damaged valves of a thin-shelled ostracod, possibly belonging to Mantelliana Anderson, 1966. Those identified as Cypridea clavata show a wide range of morphological variety and in opposition to Anderson's (1967, 1985) taxonomic scheme, which would assign them to up to five different taxa, they are considered to be intraspecific variants of a single species. The possibilities and limitations of age determination of the Wealden sediments using palynomorphs and ostracods are discussed; distinct forms of early angiosperm pollen, together with the ostracod fauna, are consistent with an early Barremian age. Pollen and spores are discussed in terms of their parent plants and the reconstruction of vegetation and palaeoclimate. Palynology and ostracods give evidence for temporary freshwater conditions at the time when the Iguanodon died and the carcase was buried
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National Museums Scotland
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