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Early Miocene Woods of Egypt

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Thirty-eight silicified eudicot wood samples were collected from a single locality in the early Miocene Gebel El-Khashab Formation exposed along the Cairo- Bahariya Oasis Desert Road of Egypt. This locality is remarkable because it is dominated by trunks of Bombacoxylon, family Malvaceae (32 samples). Whether this reflects the composition of the original regional vegetation or is a result of sorting during transport prior to fossilization is not known. These woods are characterized by having few, wide vessels, functional traits consistent with the tropical, warm humid climate suggested for the early Miocene of North Africa. Additionally, there is one sample each of wood resembling Terminalioxylon (Combretaceae) and Cynometroxylon (Leguminosae/Caesalpinioideae). Affinities of four other samples could not be determined. A list of all Miocene wood species of Egypt known to date is given along with general interpretations of the paleoclimate in the region and suggestions for future work.


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