The first reported Permian (Kungurian to Roadian) palynomorphs are described from Colorado, recovered from bedded gypsum and rare organic-rich shale intercalated in the red siltstone-dominated Lykins and State Bridge Formations. Surprisingly, these units generally lack the taeniate, saccate pollen that typifies most Permian continental rocks elsewhere, yet they contain abundant terrestrially derived palynomacerals, a low-diversity suite of sphaeromorph and acanthomorph acritarchs, and extremely rare non-taeniate, bissacate pollen grains. Acritarchs, known from one stratigraphic interval, are well-preserved and interpreted to represent autochthonous deposition during a marine incursion into the depocenter. This interpretation is consistent with their occurrence in a gray mudstone that is mantled by a mollusk-dominated coquina that bears conodonts, palaeoniscoid scales, and actinopterygian teeth. In contrast, most studied samples are dominated by wood fragments, charcoal, cuticles, and unidentified phytoclasts—all interpreted to represent dispersed plant cuticle and wood of continental origin. Fossils occur in black paper shale, gray fetid calcareous siltstone, and rhythmically bedded gypsum that is closely associated with thin limestone. Palynofacies analyses suggest that non-acritarch palynomacerals were deposited in dysoxic to anoxic waters that received minimal suspended terrigenous input. When combined with sedimentologic information, these non-acritarch fossils are hypothesized to have been deposited in shallow epicontinental lake-like settings that were periodically alkaline, hypersaline, and/or emergent.

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