Phytogeographic implications of fossil endocarps of Menispermaceae from the Paleocene of Colombia

Department of Biology-Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611 USA.
American Journal of Botany (Impact Factor: 2.6). 11/2011; 98(12):2004-17. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1000461
Source: PubMed


• Premise of the study: Fossil leaves of Menispermaceae were previously described from the Paleocene of Colombia. Because of strong homoplasy of leaf characters, the fossils could not be placed more specifically within recognized clades, and additional data were needed to specify intrafamilial and paleogeographic relationships during the Paleocene. • Methods: Fossil endocarps of Menispermaceae were collected from the Cerrejón Formation, the recently discovered Bogotá flora, and Wyoming (∼60 Ma). We surveyed the endocarp morphology of almost all extant genera, conducted character optimization, a molecular scaffold analysis, and critically reviewed the related fossil genera. • Key results: Parallel syndromes of fruit characters have appeared in unrelated clades of the family according to current phylogenetic reconstructions. However, mapping selected endocarp characters across those clades that contain horseshoe-shaped endocarps facilitates identification and phylogenetic assessment of the fossils. Three fossil species are recognized. One of them belongs to the extant genus Stephania, which today grows only in Africa and Australasia. Palaeoluna gen. nov. is placed within the pantropical clade composed of extant Stephania, Cissampelos, and Cyclea; this morphogenus is also recognized from the Paleocene of Wyoming. Menispina gen. nov. shows similarity with several unrelated clades. • Conclusions: The new fossils from Colombia reveal a complex paleobiogeographic history of the recognized clades within Menispermaceae, suggesting a more active exchange among neotropical, paleotropical, North American, and European paleoforests than previously recognized. In addition, the new fossils indicate that neotropical forests were an important biome for the radiation and dispersal of derived lineages in Menispermaceae after the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary.

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Available from: Fabiany Herrera, Oct 03, 2014
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    • "l rain forests had been established by the time of the Cerrejón flora ( Doria et al . 2008 ; Herrera et al . 2011 ) . Early members of this family ( Palaeoluna ) reflected trans - Caribbean Paleocene connections between Colombia and Wyoming , in North America . The Cerrejón genus , Stephania , is a possible precursor of modern Australian members ( Herrera et al . 2011 ) , but this dispersal scenario is hindered by the lack of infor - mation regarding fossil occurrences of the group in India and southeastern Asia , as well as Australia . Modern Araceae ( aroids , including the arum lily ; Heywood 1993 ) are one of the most diverse monocoty - ledenous plant families , and are most diverse in the modern"
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    • "), as shown by diverse phylogeographic and biogeographic studies. For example, Marshall (1988) described large mammal interchanges during the Miocene, a pattern also suggested for some marsupials (Case et al., 2005) and for the dispersal of Menispermaceae (Herrera et al., 2011). The Paleocene origin of the cichlids from the Great Antilles and Yucatan peninsula (Chakrabarty, 2006; and the examples therein) supports the arrival of fauna to Yucatan by an arc during the Cretaceous and a posterior dispersal via the Chortis block. "
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    • "Finally, the identifi cation of Paleocene fossils in South America, such as Palaeoluna Herrera, Manchester, Hoot, Wefferling, Carvalho et Jaramillo ( Herrera et al., 2011 ), assigned to the relatively derived SPACC clade, suggests early divergence of the family or alternative geographic origins. The discovery of northern South American Paleocene fossils pushes back the crown age of the SPACC clade as presented in Wang et al. (2012) by 6–7 million years to ~60 Ma ( Herrera et al., 2011 ) and raises the possibility of a Gondwanan center of diversification for at least some Menispermoideae. "
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