Paleovegetation reconstruction of fossil forests dominated by Metasequoia and Glyptostrobus from the late Pliocene Kobiwako Group, central Japan

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A late Pliocene (1.8-1.9 Ma) wetland fossil forest community that was dominated by Metasequoia and Glyptostrobus was reconstructed based on the species composition of the stumps and other plant macrofossil assemblages. The plant fossils were recovered from a fossil forest preserved in deposits of the Kobiwako Group that are exposed in the Echi River, Shiga Prefecture, central Japan. Fossil wood of Metasequoia and Glyptostrobus was distinguished based on anatomical characteristics. Apportionment of the wood from different horizons in the fossil forest indicates Metasequoia grew over a long period of time in a stable environment, while Glyptostrobus and Alnus grew in unstable environments characterized by shortinterval floods. The fossil forest as a whole represents a fluvial back-marsh environment. The upland forest was composed of mixed evergreen conifers and deciduous broad-leaved trees including Chamaecyparis pisifera, Tsuga, Magnolia, and Acer. Aquatic and wetland herbs such as Cyperus, Carex, Scirpus, Polygonum, and Menyanthes grew in and around the wetland forest. The assemblage of fossil plants recovered from the fossil forest consists of plants that are currently distributed in the cool temperate climate zone, such as Picea, Thuja, Betula maximowicziana, Pterocarya rhoifolia, and Menyanthes trifoliata. Glyptostrobus is distributed only in subtropical areas at present, but it also grew under a cool temperate climate zone in Japan during the latest Pliocene.


  • Paleontological Research

    Paleontological Research 12(2), 167-180, 2008-06-30

    Palaeontological Society of Japan

References:  35

Cited by:  2


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