Vol. 12, No. 4, p. 331 − 336, December 2008
ⓒ The Association of Korean Geoscience Societies and Springer 2008
A new species of Acer samaras from the Miocene Yeonil Group in the Pohang
ABSTRACT: Acer pohangense sp. nov. belonging to Aceraceae is
described based on the six detached samaras collected from the
Duho Formation of the Miocene Yeonil Group. This species is
characterized by its comparatively large-sized samara with a wing
and seed, and its wide divergent angle. The occurrence of such a
large-sized samara is the first on record not only in the Korean
Tertiary floras, but also in the East Asian Tertiary floras.
Key words: Acer pohangense, Aceraceae, samara, Duho Formation,
Recently six detached samaras (Aceraceae) were collected
together with many other fossil plants from the Duho For-
mation of the Miocene Yeonil Group distributed along the
northern beach of Pohang-City. Although an organic con-
nection between the present samaras and Acer leaves has not
yet been found, it is highly probable that the samaras men-
tioned above belong to Acer (Aceraceae).
The Yeonil Group of marine origin has been known to
yield abundant plant fossils and marine fossils such as mol-
lusca, scaphopoda, gastropoda, corals, fish fossils, crab, etc
(Kanehara, 1936). Among them, plant fossils were described
by previous authors (Kryshtofovich, 1921; Oishi, 1935; Huz-
ioka, 1943a, b, 1951, 1954a, b, 1955, 1972; Endo, 1950a, b,
1951, 1953; Tanai, 1952, 1983; Lee, 1975; Chun et al., 1982;
Kim, 2005, 2008; Kim and Seo, 2007). The most recent
paleobotanical works for the wood fossils of the Pohang
Basin were made by Jeong et al. (2003, 2004).
Acer is one of the most common fossils in the Tertiary of
East Asia and western North America, especially predomi-
nant in the Neogene (Tanai, 1977; Wolfe and Tanai, 1987),
and also one of the most familiar trees to us in the temperate
floras (Suzuki, 1963). As mentioned by Talor and Talor
(1993), Acer is represented by generally monoecious trees
and shrubs with opposing leaves and regular flowers, and
the fruit of Acer is a two-winged schizocarp.
A large number of fossils such as fruits, seeds, and leaves
have been found in the Tertiary floras of the world (e.g.,
Oishi & Huzioka, 1943; Suzuki, 1963; Inst. Bot. and Inst.
Geol. and palaeont., Acad. Sin., 1978; Tanai, 1983; Wolfe &
Tanai, 1987). Pollen from the Acer has also been reported
from the Oligocene (Piel, 1971). The fossil species of Acer
have been found for 91 species from North America (Wolfe
& Tanai, 1987), more than 40 species from Europe, and 35
species from Japan (Suzuki, 1963; Tanai, 1983). In addition
to the species mentioned above, 13 species were described
from China (Inst. Bot. and Inst. Geol. and palaeont., Acad.
The Acer fossil species are represented by both foliage
and samara, and some are only foliage or samara, and most
of the fossil samaras are generally small in size. To date,
there have been no samaras or comparable species found
similar to the present samaras. This paper deals with the
description of Acer pohangense sp. nov. first found in the
Korean Tertiary flora. The presence of Acer pohangense
provides new evidence for biogeographic and climatic rela-
2. GEOLOGICAL SETTING AND FOSSIL LOCALITY
The Tertiary strata of the Pohang Basin are distributed in
the southeastern coast of South Korea, and are divided into
the Yangbuk and Yeonil Groups in ascending order (Kim,
1987). The former consists predominantly of basalt, volcanic
tuff, conglomerate, sandstone, shale and lignite, while the
latter mostly of clastic sediments of marine origin. The
Yangbuk Group is nearly equivalent to the Changgi (Janggi)
Series of Tateiwa (1924).
Since Tateiwa’s (1924) geological investigation on the
Pohang Basin, many geological and palaeontological studies
have been carried out by many authors (Um et al., 1964; Kim,
1965; Yoon, 1975, 1976, 1982, 1992; Lee, 1986; Yun, 1986,
1994; Lee et al., 1988; Chung and Choi, 1993 etc). Further
paleontological references for flora, fauna and microfossils
were shown by Tateiwa (1976), Lee (1987), Lim et al. (1994),
Kim (1997), Yoon and Yun (2001). and Lee et al. (2004).
As shown in the correlation of stratigraphic sequence of
the Yeonil Group in the Pohang Basin (Yoon, 1998), the
stratigraphic divisions of the Yeonil Group suggested by
some authors differ from each other. In the present study, the
Jong Heon Kim* Department of Earth Science Education, College of Education, Kongju National University, 182, Shink-
wan-dong, Kongju 314-701, Korea
*Corresponding author: email@example.com
336Jong Heon Kim
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Manuscript received July 17, 2008
Manuscript accepted November 21, 2008