| More


Views: 416 Downloads: 306
Zidianakis G. Zidianakis G., G. Iliopoulos, C. Fassoulas
Zidianakis G. Zidianakis G., G. Iliopoulos, C. Fassoulas


A rich terrigenous plant assemblage was recently excavated from early Tortonian deposits at Messara basin, southern Crete. The macro-remains are perfectly preserved as impressions or carbonized compressions in poorly lithified and locally laminated, blue-green clays with an age of at least 10.5 Ma and thus can be considered as the oldest plant assemblage found in Crete todate. Gymnosperms are represented by the families of Pinaceae (pine needles and winged seeds), Cupressaceae and Taxodiaceae (leafy twings of Taxodium). Besides, 19 different angiosperm taxa of trees and shrubs have been also determined. Fagaceae is the most diversified with foliage of beech and several deciduous and evergreen oaks, while Myricaceae contribute mainly as abundant leaf remains of Myrica lignitum. Accessory elements of evergreen Lauraceae (Daphnogene polymorpha), sclerophyllus shrubs of Buxaceae (Buxus pliocenica) and various deciduous dicotyledonous such as Populus crenata, Liquidambar europaea, Carya minor and Acer pseudomonspessulanum are well documented. Leguminosae is recorded by a significant number of various small leaflet imprints. Therefore, the recovered remains indicate swampy forest habitats dominated by hygrophilic woody plants of Taxodium and Myrica, while in the surrounding plains and slopes a mixed mesophytic forest with a relatively low proportion of evergreen plants occurred in early-Late Miocene times in Crete depicting a moderately humid, warm-temperate nature for the climate.


plant fossils; palaeoflora; palaeovegetation; Miocene;

Full Text:



Angelier, J., Brebion, Ph., Lauriat-Rage, A. and Muller, C., 1979. Late Cenozoic biostratigraphy and neotectonic

evolution of Crete. Ann. Géol. Pays Hellén., fasc. 1, 9-17.

Benda, L., Meulenkamp, J.E. and Zachariasse, W.J., 1974. Biostratigraphic correlations in the eastern

Mediterranean Neogene. 1.Correlation between planktonic foraminiferal, uvigerinid, sporomorphal

and mammal zonations of the Cretan and Italian Neogene, Newsl. Stratigr., 3, 205-217.

Berger, W., 1957. Untersuchungen an der obermiozäne (Sarmatischen) Flora von Gabbro (Monti Livornesi)

in der Toskana. Ein Beitrag zur Auswertung tertiärer Blattfloren für die Klima- und Florengeschichte,

Palaeontographia Italica, 51, 1-103.

Bonneau, M., 1984. Correlation of the Hellenides nappes in the south - east Aegean and their tectonic reconstruction,

Geol. Soc. London, sp. publ., 17, 517-527.

Bůžek, Č., 1971. Tertiary flora of the northern part of Pĕtipsy area (North-Bohemian Basin), Rozpr. Ústř.

Úst. Geol., 36, 1-118.

Creutzburg, N. and Seidel, E., 1975. Zum Stand der Geologie des Praeneogens auf Kreta, N. Jb. Geol.

Palaeont. Abh., 149, 363-383.

De Bruijn, H., Sondaar, P.Y. and Zachariasse, W.J., 1971. Mammalia and Foraminifera from the Neogene

of Kastellios Hill (Crete). A correlation of continental and marine biozones I, Proc. of the Koninklijke

Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdam, 74(5), 1-22.

Dilcher, D.L., 1974. Approaches to the identification of angiosperm leaf remains, The Botanical Review,

, 1-157.

Fassoulas, C., 2001. The tectonic development of a Neogene basin at the leading edge of the active European

margin: the Heraklion basin, Crete, Greece, Journal of Geodynamics, 31, 49-70.

Ferguson, D. K., 1985. The origin of leaf-assemblages, new light on an old problem, Review of Palaeobotany

and Palynology, 46, 117-188.

Ferguson, D. K., 2005. Plant Taphonomy: Ruminations on the Past, the Present, and the Future, Palaios,

(5), 418-428.

Gastaldo, R. A., 2001. Plant taphonomy. In Briggs, D.E.G. and Crowther, P.R., (eds), Palaeobiology II.

–317, Oxford, Blackwell Scientific Publications, 578pp.

Greenwood, D. R., 1991. The taphonomy of plant macrofossils. In Donovan S. K. (ed.), The Processes

of Fossilization. 141-169, New York, Columbia Univ. Press, 303pp.

Herendeen, P. S., 1992a. A reevaluation of the fossil genus Podogonium Heer. In Herendeen, P.S. and

Dilcher, D.L., (eds), Advances in Legume Systematics: Part 4. The fossil record. 3-18, London, The

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, 336pp.

Herendeen, P. S., 1992b. Podogonium podocarpum (Al. Br.) Herendeen, comb. nov., the correct name for

Podogonium knorrii (Al. Br.) Heer, nom. illeg. (Leguminosae), Taxon, 41, 731-736.

Hickey, L.J., 1973. Classification of the architecture of dicotyledonous leaves, American Journal of

Botany, 60, 17-33.

Köppen, W., 1931. Klimakarte der Erde. Grundriss der Klimakunde, 2nd ed., Springer-Verlag, Berlin and

Leipzig, 388pp.

Kovar-Eder, J., Kvaček, Z. and Meller, B., 2001. Comparing Early to Middle Miocene floras and probable

vegetation types of the Oberdorf N Voitsberg (Austria), Bohemia (Czech Repablic) and Wackersdorf

(Germany), Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 114, 83-125.

Krenn, H., 1998. Die obermiozäne (pannone) Flora von Paldau, Steiermark, Österreich, Mitt. Abt. Geol.

Paläont. Landesmus. Joanneum, 56, 165-271.

XLIII, No 2 – 791

Kröger, K. F., 2004. Sedimentary environments and climate change: a case study (late Miocene, central

Crete), Ph.D., Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, 224 pp.

Kvaček, Z., Böhme, M., Dvořák, Z., konzalová, M., Mach, K., Prokop, J. and Rajchl, M., 2004. Early

Miocene freshwater and swamp ecosystems of the Most Basin (northen Bochemia) with particular reference

to the Bílina Mine section, Journal of the Czech Geological society, 49(1-2), 1-40.

Kvaček, Z., Velitzelos, D. and Velitzelos, E., 2002. Late Miocene Flora of Vegora Macedonia N Greece,

Athens, Korali Publications, 175 pp.

Leaf Architecture Working Group, 1999. Manual of Leaf Architecture – morphological description and

categorization of dicotyledonous and net-veined monocotyledonous angiosperms, Washington, Smithsonian

Institution, 67pp.

Meulenkamp, J. E., Dermitzakis, M., Georgiadou Diceoulia, E., Jonkers, H. A. and Beöger, H., 1979.

Field Guide to the Neogene of Crete. Athens, Department of Geology and Paleontology, University

of Athens, Series A, 32pp.

Meulenkamp, J.E., van der Zwaan, G.J., and van Wamel, W.A., 1994. On Late Miocene to Recent vertical

motions in the Cretan segment of the Hellenic arc, Tectonophysics, 234, 53-72.

Sachse, M., 2004. Die neogene Mega- und Mikroflora von Makrilia auf Kreta und ihre ussagen zur

Klima- und Vegetationgeschichte des östlichen Mittelmeergebietes, Flora Tertiaria Mediterranea,

(12), 1-323.

Sachse, M. and Mohr, B. A. R., 1996. Eine obermiozäne Makro- and Mikroflora aus Südkreta (Griechenland),

und deren paläoklimatische Interpretation-Vorläufige Betrachtungen, Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie

und Paläontologie Abhandlungen, 200, 149-182.

Sachse, M., Mohr, B. and Suc, J.-P., 1999. The Makrilia flora. A contribution to the Neogene history of

the climate and vegetation of the Eastern Mediterranean, Acta Palaeobotanica, Suppl. 2, 365-372.

Sen, S., Valet, J. P. and Ioakim, C., 1986. Magnetostratigraphy and biostratigraphy of the Neogene deposits

of Kastellios hill (central Crete, Greece). Palaeo, 53, 321-334.

Spicer, R. A., 1989. The formation and interpretation of plant fossil assemblages, Advances in Botanical

Research, 16, 96-191.

Takhtajan, A., 1987. Systema Magnoliophytorum, Leningrad, Editoria Nauka, 439pp.

ten Veen, J.H., and Postma, G., 1999. Neogene tectonics and basin fill patterns in the Hellenic outer-arc,

Basin Research, 11, 223-241.

Van der Weerd, A., 1983. Palynology of some Upper Miocene and Pliocene formations in Greece, Geol.

Jb., 48(B), 3-63.

Unger, F., 1867. Die fossile Flora von Kumi auf der Insel Euboea, Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen

Akademie der Wissenschaften. Math.- naturwiss, 27, 27-90.

Wang, Q., Dilcher, D. L. and Lott., T.A., 2007. Podocarpium A. Braun ex Stizenberger 1851 from the middle

Miocene of Eastern China, and its palaeoecology and biogeography, Acta palaeobotanica, 47(1),


Zidianakis, G., Mohr, B.A.R. and Fassoulas C., 2007. A Late Miocene leaf assemplage from Vrysses,

Western Crete, Greece, and its paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic interpretation, Geodiversitas,

(3), 351-377.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Zidianakis G. Zidianakis G., G. Iliopoulos, C. Fassoulas

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.