Islamabad - Antoine Champreux, a PhD student in the Global Ecology Lab at Flinders University, has catalogued the discovery of the new fern-like plant species as part of an international effort to examine the Australian fossil in greater detail. The fossil was found in the 1960s by amateur geologist Mr. John Irving, on the bank of the Manilla River in Barraba, New South Wales. The fossil was exposed after major flooding events in 1964, and Mr. Irving gave the fossil to the geological survey of New South Wales, where it remained for more than 50 years without being studied. It was dated from the end of the Late Devonian period, approximately 372-to-359 million years ago — a time when Australia was part of the Southern hemisphere super-continent Gondwana. Plants and animals had just started to colonize continents, and the first trees appeared. Yet while diverse fish species were in the oceans, continents had no flowering plants, no mammals, no dinosaurs, and the first plants had just acquired proper leaves and the earliest types of seeds. Well-preserved fossils from this era are rare — elevating the significance of the Barraba plant fossil.