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|Title:||Oldest record of Metrosideros (Myrtaceae): fossil flowers, fruits, and leaves from Australia|
|Citation:||American Journal of Botany, 2016; 103(4):754-768|
|Publisher:||Botanical Society of America|
|Myall Tarran, Peter G. Wilson, and Robert S. Hill|
|Abstract:||Premise of the Study: Myrtaceous fossil capsular fruits and flowers from the northwest of Tasmania, in the Early Oligocene-aged Little Rapid River (LRR) deposit, are described. The reproductive organs are found in association with Myrtaceous leaves previously thought to belong to a fleshy-fruited genus, Xanthomyrtus at both LRR, and an Eocene Tasmanian site at Hasties, which are reassessed with fresh morphological evidence. Methods: Standard Light Microscopy (LM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were used to investigate cuticular characters and an auto-montage camera system was used to take high-resolution images of fossil and extant fruits. Fossils are identified using a nearest living relative (NLR) approach. Key Results: The fossil fruits and flowers share a number of characters with genera of capsular-fruited Myrtaceae, in particular sharing several synapomorphies with species of Metrosideros subg. Metrosideros (tribe: Metrosidereae). The fossil is here described, and named Metrosideros leunigii, sp. nov. Conclusions: This research establishes the presence of Metrosideros (aff. subg. Metrosideros) in the Eocene-Oligocene (∼40-30 mya) of Tasmania, Australia. This is the first fossil record of Metrosideros in Australia, as well as the oldest conclusive fossil record, and may provide evidence for an Australian origin of the genus. It is also yet another example of extinction in the Tertiary of a group of plants on the Australian mainland that is only found today on nearby Pacific landmasses.|
|Keywords:||Capsular fruit; Cenozoic; fossil flowers; Hasties; Little Rapid River; Metrosideros, Myrtaceae|
|Rights:||© 2016 Botanical Society of America|
|Appears in Collections:||Earth and Environmental Sciences publications|
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