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Abstract Detail

Paleobotanical Section

Gong, Fade [1], Karsai, Istvan [1], Liu, (Christopher) Yusheng [1].

Grape seeds (Vitis) from the late Neogene Gray Fossil Site, northeast Tennessee.

The unique seed morphology of Vitaceae (grape family) has been commonly used in the recognition and identification of the fossil seed remains of this family. This study focuses on the morphometric and systematic studies of fossil vitaceous seeds, recently recovered from the Gray Fossil Site (7-4.5 ma, latest Miocene–earliest Pliocene), northeastern Tennessee. Morphologically, the following characters, such as the smooth dorsal surface with a centrally positioned chalaza connected with a conspicuous chalaza-apex groove and short linear ventral infolds which are slightly diverged apically, correspond to extant subgenus Vitis (genus Vitis). A multivariate analysis based on eleven measured characters from 76 intact seeds proposes three types of seeds, each of which would be considered to represent a morphotaxon. Further comparison with modern and fossil vitaceous specimens defined these morphotaxa to three new taxa: Vitis sp.1, Vitis sp2, and Vitis sp.3. Diagnostic characters for Vitis sp.1 are the narrow obovoid surface view with a trapezoidal beak continuing the outline of the seed and a narrow elongate to elliptical chalaza on dorsal surface. Vitis sp2 is characterized by the subglobose shape with a stilliform to round chalaza, while Vitis sp.3 has big size seed body with a prominent beak, a pyriform to spatulate chalaza and a wide deep chalaza-apex groove passing over the seed apex and from a “V-shape” groove at the top of the raphe ridge. The discovery of diverse Vitis seeds from the Gray Fossil Site suggests that the Neogene woody ecosystem of this region proposed by previous study. In addition, the close resemblance between the first two fossil grapes (Vitis sp.1 and V. sp.2) with East Asian Vitis provides further evidence of the East Asian aspects of the flora from southeastern North America as late as the late Neogene.

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1 - East Tennessee State University, Biological Sciences, PO Box 70703, Johnson City, TN, 37614, USA

Gray Fossil flora
Late Neogene.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for BSA Sections
Session: P2
Location: Event Tent/Cliff Lodge
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: P2PB010
Abstract ID:593