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The Piedra Chamana fossil woods (Eocene, Peru)

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The fossil woods and leaves of the Fossil Forest Piedra Chamana represent a diverse assemblage of plants dating to 39 Ma (late Middle Eocene). The fossils are preserved in an ashfall and overlying lahar deposits near the small village of Sexi in the northern Peruvian Andes (central Cajamarca). The assemblage includes dicot wood types and leaf morphotypes, as well as a diversity of monocot material. The ~30 dicot wood types are referred to the families Acanthaceae, Anacardiaceae, Apocynaceae, Combretaceae, Cordiaceae, Dipterocarpaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Lechythidaceae, Lythraceae, Malvaceae, Melastomataceae, Muntingiaceae, Rubiaceae, Rutaceae, and Sapindaceae. Described herein are descriptions of the first 17 wood types that have been assigned to the families Acanthaceae through Lythraceae; descriptions of the additional wood types will appear in a later paper. The paleovegetation can be characterized as lowland tropical forest with a dry aspect based on preliminary analysis of floristic affinities and wood anatomical characteristics of the fossils.

Affiliations: 1: Marsh Institute of Clark University ; 2: U.S. National Park Service, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument ; 3: Museo de Historia Natural, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos


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