Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 401–424 | Cite as

Floral diversity and environment during the middle Siwalik sedimentation (Pliocene) in the Arunachal sub-Himalaya

  • Mahasin Ali Khan
  • Meghma Bera
  • Robert A. Spicer
  • Teresa E. V. Spicer
  • Subir BeraEmail author
Original Paper


A comprehensive morphotaxonomical evaluation of diverse angiospermic dicotyledonous leaf impressions recovered from the middle part of the Siwalik succession (Subansiri Formation: Pliocene) of Arunachal Pradesh, eastern Himalaya, India, shows that the leaf remains are comparable to modern Glochidion J. R. Forst. and G. Forst. (Phyllanthaceae), Bauhinia L., Callerya Endl. (Fabaceae), Mitragyna Korth. (Rubiaceae), Beilschmiedia Nees (Lauraceae), Uvaria L. (Annonaceae), Neolamarckia Bosser (Rubiaceae), Sorindeia Thouars (Anacardiaceae), Lagerstroemia L. (Lythraceae), and Premna L. (Lamiaceae). Among these taxa, seven species are new to the Neogene floras of the Indian subcontinent. Analyses of the floral assemblage, with respect to the present-day distribution pattern of modern equivalent taxa and the physiognomic characters of the recovered fossil leaves, suggest that a tropical evergreen forest was growing in a warm humid climate in the region at the time of deposition. This qualitative climatic data is also corroborated by our previously published quantitative data obtained from a CLAMP (climate leaf analysis multivariate program) analysis on the middle Siwalik floral assemblage. The presence of some Southeast Asian elements in the fossil assemblage provides clear evidence of free exchange of taxa across southern Asia in the Pliocene.


Leaf impressions Middle Siwalik Pliocene Palaeoenvironment Phytogeography Arunachal Pradesh 



We acknowledge the UGC-CAS VII Department of Botany, University of Calcutta, for necessary facilities. We thank Sri Bimalendu De, Ex Dy. D.G., and Sri Sambhu Chakrabarty, Sr. Geologist, Geological Survey of India, Operation Arunachal, Itanagar, for help and cooperation during collection of fossil specimens. Thanks are due to the authorities of Central National Herbarium, Sibpur, Howrah, for permission to consult the Herbarium. Finally, we would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for ardent efforts to improve our article.

Funding information

This work was financially supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, New Delhi (grant number SR/S4/ES-67/2003).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest:

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahasin Ali Khan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Meghma Bera
    • 2
  • Robert A. Spicer
    • 3
    • 4
  • Teresa E. V. Spicer
    • 5
  • Subir Bera
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BotanySidho-Kanho-Birsha UniversityPuruliaIndia
  2. 2.Centre of Advanced Study, Department of BotanyUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia
  3. 3.School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem SciencesThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  4. 4.Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesMenglunPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Institute of BotanyThe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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