Image: Gondwanan fossil distribution map
Map of Gondwana, showing break-up into modern landmasses and the distribution of key fossils across these landmasses.
- © Australian Museum
At the beginning of the Mesozoic, Gondwana formed the southern part of the single continent Pangaea. When Pangaea split about 200 million years ago, Gondwana began its own isolated journey and gradual break-up into the landmasses we know today – Australia, South America, Africa, India, Madagascar, Antarctica and New Zealand. This palaeo-history is recorded in identical rocks and fossils found across these modern landmasses. When we reconnect them as they were in the past, the rocks and fossils clearly match up.
The key fossils with a Gondwanan distribution are:
- Dicroidium (seed fern)
- Mesosaur (freshwater reptile)
- Glossopteris (seed fern)
- Cynognathus (mammal-like reptile)