A new species of Sloanea, Sloanea peolai Hably, Tamás and Cioppi, documents the occurrence of this genus in the Oligocene flora of Chiavon, Italy. Through their study of Oligocene floras from Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Germany, Kvaček, Hably and Manchester were the first to recognize Sloanea in the European fossil record [Kvaček, Z., Hably, L., Manchester, S. R., 2001. Sloanea (Elaeocarpaceae) fruits and foliage from the early Oligocene of Hungary and Slovenia. Palaeontographica, Abt. B. 259 (1-6), 113-124.]. In previous work on the Chiavon flora, Principi applied 20 different taxonomic names to the leaves described here as S. peolai, however, none were attributed to Sloanea. Our identification of Sloanea in the Chiavon flora is based on 50 leaves found in collections of the Museo di Storia Naturale, Florence and the Natural History Museum, London. These specimens show the characteristic traits of Sloanea leaves, and moreover, in all certainty they belong to one species, even though both small and large leaves have entire and toothed margins. Comparative morphometrical analysis of the leaves demonstrates the similarity of Sloanea peolai from Italy and Sloanea elliptica from Hungary, and supports their affinity to the same genus but not the same species. Furthermore, the morphology of the fossil Sloanea leaves, in both shape and venation, is strikingly similar to the tropical modern East-Asian species of the genus. The fossil record of Sloanea in the Oligocene of Italy provides new information for reconstructing the phytogeographic history of this genus and the optimal climatic conditions for its distribution in certain regions of Europe. The appearance of this definitely tropical element indicates warm climate. Although, Sloanea has been recorded from several fossil assemblages, it is not a cosmopolitan element. Its fossil records suggest a close connection between the distribution of its species and palaeogeography. Therefore, each of its occurrences is remarkable.
- Sloanea peolai
- leaf fossil
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics