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Beyond vertebrate fossils: Plant fossils and molecular approaches to palaeoecology

A study in Blanche Cave provides the first fossil pollen record from the Naracoorte Caves and points to the potential for other fossil deposits within the Naracoorte Caves to yield materials that may provide direct indicators of local and regional environments throughout the Pleistocene. Study of plant fossils will reduce the reliance on palaeoenvironmental records from other localities.

Another emerging area of research at the Naracoorte Caves is ancient DNA from fossils and cave sediments.

Opportunities exist for integrating ancient DNA and other palaeoenvironmental proxies such as plant pollen and macrofossils (e.g. seeds) into research programs, enhancing our knowledge of local environmental conditions in the past and the interaction between populations and communities with climate and environmental change.