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Significance of Two New Pleistocene Plant Records from Western Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Michael H. Field
Centre for Quaternary Science, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, Priory Street Coventry, England, CV1 5FB
Felix Y. Velichkevich
Institute of Geological Sciences, Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Zhodinskaya Street, 7, 220141, Minsk Belarus
Valerie Andrieu-Ponel
Laboratoire de Botanique historique et Palynologie (Service 451), IMEP-CNRS (ERA 6116), Faculté des Sciences et Techniques de St. Jérôme, 13397, Marseille Cedex 20 France
Phillipe Woltz
Laboratoire de Morphogenèse végétale (Service 442), Faculté des Sciences et Techniques de St. Jérôme, 13397, Marseille Cedex 20, France


The first records of extinct Caulinia goretskyi (Dorofeev) Dorofeev (synonym Najas goretskyi Dorofeev) in western Europe and of Potamogeton occidentalis M.H. Field sp. nov. were obtained from plant macrofossil analyses of Middle Pleistocene temperate stage deposits exposed at Trez Rouz, Brittany, France. Palynological assemblages recovered suggest correlation with the Holsteinian Stage. This discovery greatly expands the western limit of the paleogeographical distribution of Caulinia goretskyi. The record of Potamogeton occidentalis indicates an affinity with the eastern Asiatic flora, as the fruits resemble those of the extant Potamogeton maackianus A. Bennett. Other extinct Pleistocene species related to P. maackianus have been described, and it is possible to follow the development of this group through the Pleistocene in the European fossil record. These new finds illustrate the importance of a complete paleobotanical approach (both plant macrofossil and palynological analyses). The plant macrofossil assemblages not only provide detailed insight into local vegetation and environment, because they are often not transported long distances (in temperate areas) and can frequently be identified to species level; they can also offer the opportunity to investigate Pleistocene evolutionary trends.

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University of Washington

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