ONSET OF GRASSY HABITATS DURING THE GREENHOUSE–ICEHOUSE SYSTEMS TRANSITION IN THE MIDDLE EOCENE OF CENTRAL PATAGONIA

Alejandro Fabián Zucol, Marcelo J Krause, Mariana Brea, M. Sol Raigemborn, Sergio D Matheos

Abstract


Phytolith assemblages recovered from the middle Eocene Koluel-Kaike Formation in Central Patagonia, southern South America, confirm the presence of herbaceous components, mainly related to mixed ecosystems or savannahs, and subordinate forest communities. This new palaeobotanical information reveals a clear transition between previously described woodland-dominated communities from the early Eocene Las Flores Formation, and grass-rich ecosystems from the mid-Eocene Sarmiento Formation. The early appearance of grass-dominated ecosystems in southern South America, would be related to the worldwide greenhouse to icehouse systems transition initiated during the mid-Palaeogene.

Keywords


Phytoliths: palaeosols: Koluel-Kaike Formation; palaeoclimate; EECO; Central Patagonia

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