Pliocene Albizia (Fabaceae) from Jharkhand, eastern India: reappraisal of its biogeography during Cenozoic in Southeast Asia

Hazra, Taposhi; Hazra, Manoshi; Spicer, Robert A.; Spicer, Teresa E.V.; Mahato, Sumana; Bera, Subir; Kumar, Sanchita and Khan, Mahasin Ali (2021). Pliocene Albizia (Fabaceae) from Jharkhand, eastern India: reappraisal of its biogeography during Cenozoic in Southeast Asia. Palaeoworld (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palwor.2021.03.004

Abstract

Albizia, a diverse tree genus, occupies monsoonal warm, humid rain forests in tropical and subtropical regions. We recovered a well-preserved compound fossil leaf and two fossil fruits of Albizia (Fabaceae) from the latest Neogene (Rajdanda Formation: Pliocene) sediments of Jharkhand of Chotanagpur Plateau, eastern India. On the basis of the architectural features of the fossil leaf, a new species is established as A. mahuadanrensis Hazra, Hazra and Khan, n. sp., characterised by a bipinnate, compound leaf having a rachis bearing opposite, asymmetrically ovate to sub-rhomboid leaflets, pulvinus on leaflet petiolule and brochiodromous secondary veins. Based on both morphological and anatomical characters of the fossil fruits, A. palaeoprocera Hazra, Hazra and Khan, n. sp. is erected, characterised by flattened to broadly linear shaped, wingless fruits; ovate-elliptic shaped seed chambers having ellipsoidal seeds in one series; irregularly polygonal to rectangular epidermal cells with oblique end walls and randomly oriented, scattered, paracytic stomata. Analysis of Albizia fossil occurrences indicates that the legume taxon was common in Neogene forests of India and elsewhere. The present-day distribution of the closely affiliated modern species of the fossil taxa indicates a warm and humid tropical environment during the time of deposition. We also review the biogeographic history of Albizia in India and other Asian countries.

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