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Tertiary Floras of India and Their Bearing on the Historical Geology of the Region

Rajendra N. Lakhanpal
Taxon
Vol. 19, No. 5 (Oct., 1970), pp. 675-694
DOI: 10.2307/1219280
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1219280
Page Count: 20
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Tertiary Floras of India and Their Bearing on the Historical Geology of the Region
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Abstract

Geologically India is divisible into three units (1) Peninsular, (2) Extra-Peninsular and (3) Indo-Gangetic Plain. The Tertiary floras of India can conveniently be divided into two groups -- Palaeogene and Neogene. As known today, Palaeogene floras are found only in the Peninsular India, while Neogene occur in both the Peninsular and extra-Peninsular regions. They are predominantly tropical floras, made up of genera now largely confined to the Old World. A notable feature of the Indian Palaeogene is the occurrence of a few southern hemisphere taxa which may recall the pre-Cenozoic relationships between India and the Gondwana continents to the south. The London Clay flora shows noticeable general resemblance with the Indian Palaeogene. This feature is discussed taking into account the Tertiary plant fossils known from northern Africa. Phytogeographic comparison is also made with the Malaysian region. It is envisaged that there were large scale migrations and intermingling of floras over Malaysia, India, Arabia and Eastern Africa during Neogene time. Records of Dipterocarpaceae provide significant evidence. Water seems to have been a major factor in controlling the distribution of plants at low latitudes throughout the Cenozoic era. The palaeogeography of India during the Early Eocene and Miocene epochs has been reconstructed on the joint evidence of plant and animal fossils. Much work remains to be done before we shall have a clear understanding of the sources and migrations of the plants which have survived in southern Asia throughout Tertiary times to the present.

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