Plant Diversity ›› 2019, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (03): 183-197.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2019.04.002

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Early Miocene flora of central Kazakhstan (Turgai Plateau) and its paleoenvironmental implications

Popova Svetlanaa, Utescher Torstenb,c, Averyanova Annaa, Tarasevich Valentinaa, Tropina Polinaa, Xing Yaowud   

  1. a Komarov Botanical Institute of RAS, Palaeobotanical Department, 2 Professor Popov Str., Saint Petersburg, 197376, Russia;
    b Steinmann Institute, Bonn University, Nussallee 8, Bonn, D-53115, Germany;
    c Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum/Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Senckenberganlage 25, Frankfurt, D-60325, Germany;
    d Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS), Menglum, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
  • Received:2018-11-19 Revised:2019-04-04 Online:2019-06-25 Published:2019-08-15
  • Contact: Popova Svetlana,E-mail
  • Supported by:
    This study was carried out as part of the institutional research project of the Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Saint Petersburg, Russia) №AAAA-A19-119021190031-8. It was done using the equipment of the Core Facility Center "Cell and Molecular Technologies in Plant Science" at this institute. Our study was funded by RFBR and NSFC according to the research project No 19-55-53010 and Pioneer Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences No. 419 115 30 105 to Y.W. Xing and the Chinese Academy of Sciences 135 program (No. 2017XTBG-F01); the results of this study are also a contribution to NECLIME.

Abstract: The investigation of the fossil floras from the Turgai plateau (central Kazakhstan) contributes to a better understanding of the origin of the temperate Turgai type flora which spread to Kazakhstan and adjacent areas during the OligoceneeMiocene transition. In this paper, we present the results of a carpological and palynological study of the Kumyrtas flora collected from a flora-bearing horizon of the regional coalbearing Zhilanchik suite, dated to the Aquitanian period. Pollen analysis identified 33 taxa, with are dominated by angiosperms (about 73%) and reflect zonal vegetation. The high percentages of Betula (27%) and Pterocarya (7.5%) that were found in this flora allows comparisons with other Aquitanian floras of Kazakhstan. Based on descriptions of fossil fruits and seeds, we determined that 19 taxa were dominant; these taxa had meosphytic herbaceous components, suggesting mostly edaphic local conditions. The incongruence between the carpological and the pollen records suggests a significant taphonomical effect. Quantitative reconstruction of the palaeoclimate based on pollen records supports-and slightly extends-previous findings based on fossil leaf data, but contradicts findings deduced from the carpological record. Plant Functional Type (PFT) classification was used to characterize the vegetation patterns. Pollen records show that about 45% of diversity relates to the arboreal broadleaved deciduous components and ca. 35% to conifers. Fossil fruit and seed data indicate riverine vegetation with a high diversity of aquatic components and shrub stratum.

Key words: Kazakhstan, Turgai flora, OligoceneeMiocene transition, Palaeoclimate reconstruction, PFT