Fossil moonseeds from the Paleogene of West Gondwana (Patagonia, Argentina)

Nathan A. Jud, Ari Iglesias, Peter Daniel Wilf, Maria A. Gandolfo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Premise of the Study: The fossil record is critical for testing biogeographic hypotheses. Menispermaceae (moonseeds) are a widespread family with a rich fossil record and alternative hypotheses related to their origin and diversification. The family is well-represented in Cenozoic deposits of the northern hemisphere, but the record in the southern hemisphere is sparse. Filling in the southern record of moonseeds will improve our ability to evaluate alternative biogeographic hypotheses. Methods: Fossils were collected from the Salamanca (early Paleocene, Danian) and the Huitrera (early Eocene, Ypresian) formations in Chubut Province, Argentina. We photographed them using light microscopy, epifluorescence, and scanning electron microscopy and compared the fossils with similar extant and fossil Menispermaceae using herbarium specimens and published literature. Key Results: We describe fossil leaves and endocarps attributed to Menispermaceae from Argentinean Patagonia. The leaves are identified to the family, and the endocarps are further identified to the tribe Cissampelideae. The Salamancan endocarp is assigned to the extant genus Stephania. These fossils significantly expand the known range of Menispermaceae in South America, and they include the oldest (ca. 64 Ma) unequivocal evidence of the family worldwide. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the importance of West Gondwana in the evolution of Menispermaceae during the Paleogene. Currently, the fossil record does not discern between a Laurasian or Gondwanan origin; however, it does demonstrate that Menispermaceae grew well outside the tropics by the early Paleocene. The endocarps’ affinity with Cissampelideae suggests that diversification of the family was well underway by the earliest Paleocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-942
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Volume105
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Fingerprint

Menispermum
Menispermaceae
Argentina
Gondwana
Paleogene
fossils
fossil
endocarp
fossil record
Paleocene
Stephania
Ypresian
Danian
herbarium
South America
Southern Hemisphere
microscopy
Northern Hemisphere
Eocene
Electron Scanning Microscopy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Jud, Nathan A. ; Iglesias, Ari ; Wilf, Peter Daniel ; Gandolfo, Maria A. / Fossil moonseeds from the Paleogene of West Gondwana (Patagonia, Argentina). In: American journal of botany. 2018 ; Vol. 105, No. 5. pp. 927-942.
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Fossil moonseeds from the Paleogene of West Gondwana (Patagonia, Argentina). / Jud, Nathan A.; Iglesias, Ari; Wilf, Peter Daniel; Gandolfo, Maria A.

In: American journal of botany, Vol. 105, No. 5, 01.05.2018, p. 927-942.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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