We describe fossil palm fruits that belong to the monophyletic subfamily Arecoideae within the family Arecaceae. Fossils were collected in outcrops of the Salamanca Fm. (Danian, Paleocene, 63.3-61.9 Ma) at Ea. Las Violetas locality. The fossils are preserved as three-dimensional petrifications; longitudinal, tangential and cross-sections and CT scans were examined. The fruits are ovoid and longitudinally furrowed, with three well defined-grooves and a single germination pore that it is opposite to the pedicel. Internally, there is not a clear distinction between the exocarp and the mesocarp; the endocarp is thin and not sculptured. The fruits are single-seeded; the seeds are deltoid with an acute apex and are basally attached to the fruit, the endosperm is ruminate. Diagnostic characters preserved are the possible tannin cells near the endocarp, raphides and a system of longitudinal and radial fibrous bundles with associated brachysclereids. They present a suite of characters that correspond to members of the subfamily Arecoideae and have a possible affinity with the tribes Cocoseae and Areceae. Although the presence of fossils stems was previously known from Patagonia, this report constitutes the first record for fruit for Patagonia and for Argentina.

Mass of palm fruits in matrix Single fruit Longitudinal section of fruit

This work was done under the direction of Dr. M. A. Gandolfo, as part of the Monocot: AToL and Patagonian Paleofloras projects.


Futey, M., Gandolfo, M., Cladera, G., CĂșneo, R. and Zamaloa, M. 2010. First Argentinean fossil record of palm fruits (Salamanca Fm., Paleocene) from Chubut, Patagonia. VI Southern Connection Congress, Bariloche, Argentina. February 15-19, Abstracts.