Sunday, May 2, 2021

[Paleontology • 2021] The mid-Miocene Zhangpu Biota reveals an outstandingly Rich Rainforest Biome in East Asia

 mid-Miocene Zhangpu Biota

in Wang, Shi, Xu, Spicer, Perrichot, ... et Engel, 2021.

During the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum [MMCO, ~14 to 17 million years (Ma) ago], global temperatures were similar to predicted temperatures for the coming century. Limited megathermal paleoclimatic and fossil data are known from this period, despite its potential as an analog for future climate conditions. Here, we report a rich middle Miocene rainforest biome, the Zhangpu biota (~14.7 Ma ago), based on material preserved in amber and associated sedimentary rocks from southeastern China. The record shows that the mid-Miocene rainforest reached at least 24.2°N and was more widespread than previously estimated. Our results not only highlight the role of tropical rainforests acting as evolutionary museums for biodiversity at the generic level but also suggest that the MMCO probably strongly shaped the East Asian biota via the northern expansion of the megathermal rainforest biome. The Zhangpu biota provides an ideal snapshot for biodiversity redistribution during global warming.

Representative insects in Zhangpu amber of biogeographic and ecological significance.
 (A) Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Leptomyrmex). (B) Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Lophomyrmex). (C) Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Tetragonula). (D) Bristletail (Archaeognatha: Machilidae). (E) Dustywing (Neuroptera: Coniopterygidae: Heteroconis). (F) Stick insect (Phasmida: Lonchodidae: Orxines). (G) Earwig (Dermaptera: Labiduridae) and termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae: Coptotermes). (H) Two flies (Diptera: Mycetophilidae) and one leafhopper (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). (I) Stonefly (Plecoptera: Nemouridae: Podmosta) and scale insect (Hemiptera: Coccoidea). (J) Bark lice (Psocodea: Psocidae). (K) Planthopper (Hemiptera: Issidae). (L) Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae: Coptotermes).
Scale bars, 1 mm (A, C, and G), 0.5 mm (B, E, J, and L), and 2 mm (D, F, H, I, and K).


Bo Wang, Gongle Shi, Chunpeng Xu, Robert A. Spicer, Vincent Perrichot, Alexander R. Schmidt, Kathrin Feldberg, Jochen Heinrichs, Cédric Chény, Hong Pang, Xingyue Liu, Taiping Gao, Zixi Wang, Adam Ślipiński, Mónica M. Solórzano-Kraemer, Sam W. Heads, M. Jared Thomas, Eva-Maria Sadowski, Jacek Szwedo, Dany Azar, André Nel, Ye Liu, Jun Chen, Qi Zhang, Qingqing Zhang, Cihang Luo, Tingting Yu, Daran Zheng, Haichun Zhang and Michael S. Engel. 2021.  The mid-Miocene Zhangpu Biota reveals an outstandingly Rich Rainforest Biome in East Asia. Science Advances. 7, 18, eabg0625. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg0625