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|Title:||Identifying fossil Myrtaceae leaves: the first described fossils of Syzygium from Australia|
|Citation:||American Journal of Botany, 2018; 105(10):1748-1759|
|Myall Tarran, Peter G. Wilson, Rosemary Paull, Ed Biffin, and Robert S. Hill|
|Abstract:||PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Although leaves of Myrtaceae are easily identified to family level, very few studies have convincingly identified fossil Myrtaceae leaves to living genera. We used a broadly comparative approach with a large data set of extant taxa to confidently assign the mummified remains of myrtaceous leaves from early Miocene sediments at Kiandra (New South Wales, Australia) to a living genus. METHODS: Fossils were identified using a nearest living relative approach, against a database of 232 extant broadleaf rainforest species of Myrtaceae. Leaf cuticles were prepared from 106 species, sourced from herbarium specimens as well as some living individuals, and a further 127 records were assembled from the literature. A set of simple but phylogenetically informative cuticular characters were observed, described, and recorded under both scanning electron microscopy and standard light microscopy. KEY RESULTS: A new fossil species of Syzygium Gaertn. is described from mummified remains found in early Miocene (21.5-21.7 Ma) sediments. The fossil taxon is here named Syzygium christophelii sp. nov., in honor of the late Australian paleobotanist David Christophel. CONCLUSIONS: These fossils represent some of the most confidently described Myrtaceae leaf fossils published to date and are the first and oldest described fossil record of Syzygium from Australia. While several fossil parataxa have been illustrated from New Zealand, and several fossil species of Syzygium have previously been proposed in the literature, many of these fossils lack characters for a confident diagnosis.|
|Keywords:||Acmena; Australia; cuticle; foliar; fossil; Kiandra; micromorphology; Miocene; myrtaceae; Syzygium.|
|Rights:||© 2018 Botanical Society of America|
|Appears in Collections:||Environment Institute publications|
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