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Early Eocene Ripogonum (Liliales: Ripogonaceae) leaf macrofossils from southern Australia


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Conran, JG, Carpenter, RJ and Jordan, GJ 2009 , 'Early Eocene Ripogonum (Liliales: Ripogonaceae) leaf macrofossils from southern Australia' , Australian Systematic Botany, vol. 22 , pp. 219-228 , doi: 10.1071/SB08050 .

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We present evidence that fossil leaves from an early Eocene estuarine mudstone deposit at Lowana Road
in western Tasmania include the oldest records of the extant monocot genus, Ripogonum (Ripogonaceae). These
fossils are similar to the extant eastern Australian and Papua New Guinean R. album R.Br. and New Zealand
R. scandens J.R. et G.Forst., and are described as a new species, R. tasmanicum Conran, R.J.Carp. & G.J.Jord. The
venation, cuticular and other leaf features of this fossil are included in a morphology-based phylogenetic analysis for
the genus, and character evolution is discussed in relation to the ecology of the extant species and the palaeoenvironments
of known Ripogonaceae fossil sites. The fossil (albeit on leaf characters) was placed close to the base of a black-fruited,
Australian endemic Ripogonum clade. This suggests that the family have a long and conservative evolutionary history
in association with moist forests, with the fossil locality showing palaeoclimate similar to the environments that most
Ripogonum species still occupy today.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Conran, JG and Carpenter, RJ and Jordan, GJ
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Systematic Botany
ISSN: 1030-1887
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/SB08050
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Copyright © 2009 CSIRO.

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