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Panascleroticoxylon crystallosa gen. et sp. nov.: a new Miocene malpighialean tree from Panama

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We report fossil wood specimens from two Miocene sites in Panama, Central America: Hodges Hill (Cucaracha Formation; Burdigalian, c.19 Ma) and Lago Alajuela (Alajuela Formation; Tortonian, c.10 Ma), where material is preserved as calcic and silicic permineralizations, respectively. The fossils show an unusual combination of features: diffuse porous vessel arrangement, simple perforation plates, alternate intervessel pitting, vessel–ray parenchyma pits either with much reduced borders or similar to the intervessel pits, abundant sclerotic tyloses, rays markedly heterocellular with long uniseriate tails, and rare to absent axial parenchyma. This combination of features allows assignment of the fossils to Malpighiales, and we note similarities with four predominantly tropical families: Salicaceae, Achariaceae, and especially, Phyllanthaceae, and Euphorbiaceae. These findings improve our knowledge of Miocene neotropical diversity and highlight the importance of Malpighiales in the forests of Panama prior to the collision of the Americas.

Affiliations: 1: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute ; 2: Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Exactas y Tecnología, Universidad de Panamá ; 3: Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens ; 4: Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument ; 5: Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London ; 6: L.H. Bailey Hortorium, Department of Plant Biology


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