Lower Miocene plant assemblage with coastal-marsh herbaceous monocots from the Vienna Basin (Slovakia)

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Abstract

A new plant assemblage of Cerová-Lieskové from Lower Miocene (Karpatian) deposits in the Vienna Basin (western Slovakia) is preserved in a relatively deep, upper-slope marine environment. Depositional conditions with high sedimentation rates allowed exceptional preservation of plant remains. The plant assemblage consists of (1) conifers represented by foliage of Pinus hepios and Tetraclinis salicornioides, a seed cone of Pinus cf. ornata, and by pollen of the Cupressaceae, Pinaceae, Pinus sp. and Cathaya sp., and (2) angiosperms represented by Cinnamomum polymorphum, Platanus neptuni, Potamogeton sp. and lauroid foliage, by pollen of Liquidambar sp., Engelhardia sp. and Craigia sp., and in particular by infructescences (so far interpreted as belonging to cereal ears). We validate genus and species assignments of the infructescences: they belong to Palaeotriticum Sitár, including P. mockii Sitár and P. carpaticum Sitár, and probably represent herbaceous monocots that inhabited coastal marshes, similar to the living grass Spartina. Similar infructescences occur in the Lower and Middle Miocene deposits of the Carpathian Foredeep (Slup in Moravia), Tunjice Hills (Žale in Slovenia), and probably also in the Swiss Molasse (Lausanne). This plant assemblage demonstrates that the paleovegetation was represented by evergreen woodland with pines and grasses in undergrowth, similar to vegetation inhabiting coastal brackish marshes today. It also indicates subtropical climatic conditions in the Vienna Basin (central Paratethys), similar to those implied by other coeval plant assemblages from Central Europe

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