Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


(ɡɒndˈwɑːnəˌlænd) or


(Geological Science) one of the two ancient supercontinents produced by the first split of the even larger supercontinent Pangaea about 200 million years ago, comprising chiefly what are now Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and the Indian subcontinent
[C19: from Gondwana region in central north India, where the rock series was originally found]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


A supercontinent of the Southern Hemisphere comprising the landmasses that currently correspond to India, Australia, Antarctica, and South America. According to the theory of plate tectonics, Gondwanaland formed at the end of the Precambrian Eon and broke up in the middle of the Mesozoic Era. Compare Laurasia.
Did You Know? Sometimes a suggested solution to a scientific problem can raise more questions than it answers. So it was with Austrian geologist Eduard Suess's hypothesis explaining why identical groups of fossil plants occur in India, South America, southern Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. These plants, known as the Glossopteris flora, had seeds that were too large to have blown across wide oceans. In 1885 Suess proposed that the plant fossils were common to all of the landmasses because the landmasses were actually connected when the plants first developed, eventually breaking apart into separate continents. Suess named this huge landmass Gondwanaland, after a region of central India called Gondwana. Few believed Suess's idea because most people could not see what would cause such a giant supercontinent to break apart. In the early 1900s, Alfred Wegener, a German meteorologist, noticed other kinds of evidence for Gondwanaland, including similarities in animal fossils, rock types, and marks left by glaciers across the continents of the Southern Hemisphere. Wegener used this evidence to propose the idea of continental drift, which says that the continents are always moving toward or away from one another. But it wasn't until the 1960s that Wegener's ideas or the concept of Gondwanaland were finally accepted, when the theory of plate tectonics was put forward to explain how the internal workings of the Earth could cause continents to move about.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Gondwanaland - a hypothetical continent that (according to plate tectonic theory) broke up later into India and Australia and Africa and South America and Antarctica
southern hemisphere - the hemisphere to the south of the equator
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Even before the split of the Gondwanaland, they did not share borders.
A Middle Earth B Gondwanaland C Omanaland D Eurasia 9.
During the upper Permian, Indian plate was part of Gondwanaland and marine deposition was occurring at the passive margin of Tethys Ocean (Kobayashi, 1999).
Mountain peaks left when earth's original continent of Gondwanaland split into Africa and Asia around 66 million years ago, they even pre-date Theo!
Professor Singh was a member of the Gondwanaland Expedition, an international expedition from Shimla to Cape Agulhas in South Africa to trace the great Gondwanaland that existed as a single landmass about 250 million years ago and drifted to its present position in different continents.
Its formation was associated with the breaking up of Gondwanaland (southern supercontinent) and subsequent separation of South America plate from Africa plate [1].
When New Zealand split away from the supercontinent Gondwanaland 85 million years ago, predatory mammals had not evolved, and birds thrived.
For the geographical origin of the association of Ficus-Agaonidae, it has been suggested that the pollinating wasps evolved during the Cretaceous period (Corner, 1958) in the Southern Hemisphere (Gondwanaland) (Murray, 1985).
Equisetopsids is an extant group of plants inhabiting humid conditions, common in tropical to subtropical areas[23].Benniettitales, an extinct order of gymnosperms were medium sized trees of wet and warm environment, where as Cycadales an extant order of gymnosperms occupied tropical to subtropical areas[24].On the basis of probable botanical affinities of recovered palynomorphs, it can be tentatively concluded that there was a great diversity of plants in the Gondwanaland during the Early Permian period.
Therefore, monotremes and marsupials are obviously not united in a single phylogenetic lineage but both taxa are also connected by their distribution pattern, testifying their Gondwanaland roots.
This supercontinent was called Gondwanaland, after Central India's Gonds--aboriginal "hill people."