Fruit and seed floras from exceptionally preserved biotas in the European Paleogene

 

Authors: Collinson M, Manchester SR, Wilde V, Hayes P

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 85, issue 1; pages: 155 - 162; Received 22 July 2009; Accepted in revised form 5 October 2009; Online 12 January 2010

Keywords: Messel oil shale, Eocene, biotic dispersal, wind dispersal, Insect Limestone, Bembridge Marls Member, plant fossil,

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Abstract

Fossil fruit and seed assemblages from two exceptionally preserved biotas provide considerable information about systematics, diversity, dispersal biology and plant animal interactions in the European Paleogene. The first is from the Middle Eocene Messel oil shale in the Messel Pit near Darmstadt, Germany and occurs in association with exceptionally preserved flowers, insects and vertebrates. The second is from the latest Eocene Insect Limestone (Bembridge Marls Member, Solent Group) from the northern coast of the Isle of Wight, UK and occurs in association with exceptionally preserved insects. These two assemblages of compressed fruits and seeds both preserve delicate structures including plumes, wings and a fruit with a long awn. The Messel site also has rare, completely preserved fruiting heads and other specimens with organic connections, preservation of soft tissues, and seeds found within animal gut contents. The Messel flora is especially important for understanding Middle Eocene dispersal biology, biogeography and floristic diversity.

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