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Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic Vegetation in China, Emphasizing Their Connections With North America

Jen Hsu
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 70, No. 3 (1983), pp. 490-508
DOI: 10.2307/2992084
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2992084
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic Vegetation in China, Emphasizing Their Connections With North America
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Abstract

The close floristic relationship and disjunct occurrence of many plant taxa between eastern Asia and eastern North America has been given special attention by many botanists. Formerly some people thought that this close floristic link was a result of extensive migrations mainly through Beringia, but recently plate tectonic studies demonstrated that the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean was completed as late as the middle Eocene and the land bridge (Beringia) between Asia and North America was not available until the Miocene. Thus the extensive migrations via Beringia did not occur before the Miocene. The present paper reviews the Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic vegetation in China, enumerating plant megafossils of the Late Cretaceous and the Cenozoic Periods so far recorded there. One-half to two-thirds of the Late Cretaceous plants and one-fourth to one-half of the Late Eocene taxa seem similar (or nearly identical) to those of North America, and some plants are cosmopolitan in Laurasia. This indicates that these plants must have migrated directly between eastern Asia and eastern North America via Europe. So far as the megafossils are concerned, after the Eocene only a few Chinese species are common with those of North America. So most of the isolated and disjunct genera of eastern Asia and eastern North America are remnants of ancient plants widely distributed all over the Northern Hemisphere. Eastern Asia and eastern North America at present are two relic temperature centers of the Northern Hemisphere.

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