Oldest record of the scale-leaved clade of Podocarpaceae, early Paleocene of Patagonia, Argentina

Ana Andruchow-Colombo, Ignacio H. Escapa, Raymond J. Carpenter, Robert S. Hill, Ari Iglesias, Ana M. Abarzua, Peter Wilf

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13 Scopus citations


A new podocarpaceous conifer is described from the early Danian Salamanca Formation (southern Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina) based on compressions of leafy branches with cuticular remains. Kirketapel salamanquensis gen. et sp. nov. has amphistomatic, scale-like leaves with marginal frills distinguishable at the apex; stomata oriented randomly in relation to the major axis of the leaf with four to five subsidiary cells and extremely reduced Florin rings; and irregularly shaped epidermal cells. We compare K. salamanquensis with extant and extinct members of the imbricate-leaved podocarps, among which it closely resembles Florin’s Dacrydium group C genera (i.e., Lagarostrobos, Manoao, Lepidothamnus and Halocarpus). Among these genera, only Lepidothamnus has a living representative in South America, the Chilean L. fonkii, whose leaf macro- and micromorphological characters are described in detail for comparison. Overall, the Patagonian fossil species is most similar to the extant and extinct members of Lagarostrobos in its cuticular micromorphology; however, macromorphological characters, such as the leaf size, apex curvature and mode of flattening, clearly differentiate it from all four genera of Dacrydium group C. We include Kirketapel salamanquensis in a combined molecular and morphological phylogenetic analysis conducted under the maximum parsimony criterion. The new, early Paleocene fossil taxon is confidently recovered as part of the scale-leaved clade as defined herein, which also includes Halocarpus, Phyllocladus, Lepidothamnus, Parasitaxus, Lagarostrobos and Manoao, and it constitutes the oldest record known for the group by at least 17 million years as well as its first fossil occurrence outside Australasia, establishing a widespread Gondwanan history. Furthermore, based on its oldest locality of occurrence, K. salamanquensis shows that the divergence of the total group of the scale-leaved podocarps occurred by at least 65 million years ago, adding to the growing systematic knowledge of earliest Cenozoic macrofloras in the Southern Hemisphere. Ana Andruchow-Colombo [aandruchow@mef.org.ar] and Ignacio Escapa [iescapa@mef.org.ar] CONICET, Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio Av. Fontana 140, Trelew 9100, Chubut, Argentina; Raymond J. Carpenter* [raymond.carpenter@adelaide.edu.au] School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia; Robert S. Hill [bob.hill@adelaide.edu.au] School of Biological Sciences and Environment Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia; Ari Iglesias [ari_iglesias@yahoo.com.ar] CONICET, Instituto de Investigaciones en Biodiversidad y Medioambiente INIBIOMA-CONICET, Universidad Nacional del COMAHUE, Quintral 1250, San Carlos de Bariloche 8400, Río Negro, Argentina; Ana Abarzua [anaabarzua@uach.cl] Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Av. Rector Eduardo Morales Miranda 23, Valdivia 5090000, Región de los Ríos, Chile; Peter Wilf [pwilf@psu.edu] Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. *Also affiliated with: School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia. Received 28.2.2018; revised 22.8.2018; accepted 24.8.2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-145
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Palaeontology


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