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The Pleistocene flora of Bezhan, southeast Albania: early appearance of extant tree species
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology. (Paleobiologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4241-9075
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9535-1206
2019 (English)In: Historical Biology, ISSN 0891-2963, E-ISSN 1029-2381Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The piggyback basin of Bezhan, southeastern Albania, was formed during the late Neogene and contains Pliocene/Pleistocene deposits. These continental deposits consist of marls, siltstones and clays separated by a thin series of lignite-seams alternating with clays (Bezhan formation). We investigated leaf fossils and dispersed pollen from marls of the upper portion of this formation. Fifty-two plant taxa comprising algae, gymnosperms, and angiosperms were recovered. Of these, at least 19% belong to extant species and less than 16% belong to taxa today extinct in western Eurasia. Tsuga is represented by three pollen taxa with affinities to modern Chinese, Japanese, and North American species. Herbaceous taxa indicative of steppe (Artemisia, Amaranthaceae) occur in low quantities (≤1%) suggesting an interglacial setting. Four vegetation units are recognised: Wet riparian and aquatic vegetation, mesic oak forest, dry sub-Mediterranean woodland, and montane conifer forest. A comparison of the Bezhan flora with well-dated Pliocene and Pleistocene floras of Italy suggests a Calabrian (late early Pleistocene) age for the upper unit. This estimate is based on the abundance of extant taxa, the absence of subtropical taxa, and threshold values of particular taxa (Tsuga, Carya). The findings are in agreement with age estimates for extant tree species from molecular studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Plant macrofossils; pollen; Quercus cerris; sub- Mediterranean vegetation belt; extant tree species; Calabrian
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Ecosystems and species history
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-3434DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2019.1615061OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-3434DiVA, id: diva2:1373186
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-03986Available from: 2019-11-26 Created: 2019-11-26 Last updated: 2019-11-26

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Publisher's full texthttps://doi.org/10.1080/08912963.2019.1615061

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