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Angiosperms from paleogene paleofloras Fonseca and Gandarela: taxonomic and paleoclimate implications

Grant number: 07/04489-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2007
Effective date (End): February 28, 2011
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Paleobotany
Principal Investigator:Fresia Soledad Ricardi Torres Branco
Grantee:Jean Carlo Mari Fanton
Host Institution: Instituto de Geociências (IG). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The Fonseca and Gandarela basins located at the Quadrilátero Ferrífero (State of Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil) are classic examples of paleogene fossiliferous deposits (Eocene-Oligocene). The extraordinary diversity and abundance of fossils, particularly imprints of angiosperms leaves and arthropods, provide for evidence of luxuriant vegetation ashore a fluvial-lacustrine system, which evolved under warm and humid climate. Since the second half of the nineteenth century, several researchers have contributed fragmentarily for the description of those paleofloras, fact that turn difficult to recognize its paleobotanical potentialities. A limited number of works was proposed after the eighth decade, with descriptions about taxonomic novelties. Currently, the outcrops from the Quadrilátero Ferrífero have provided important new plant fossil materials. Paleogene paleofloras of South America are of special interest for the paleobotanical literature since they testify a crucial stage in the angiosperm evolutionary history. This stage probably was a precursor scenario for the extant neotropical rainforests. No profound paleoclimatic analysis (in order to infer parameters such as precipitation and temperature) was made based on the physiognomic traits of the leaf fossils from the Fonseca and Gandarela deposits. This research intends to analyze the morphology and systematic of the selected plant macrofossils and palynomorphs. The selection will be based on previous collections and new material from field work. In order to discuss the paleoclimatic conditions, it will be examined the physiognomic features of leaves of the studied samples. The taxonomic data integrated to the paleoclimatic reconstruction will permit to infer the related paleohabitat. This research will turn accessible the reliable climatic indicators and taxonomic lineage indicators from the paleofloras Fonseca and Gandarela.

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