The journalScience China D Earth Sciences has recently published a special issue focusing on “Cenozoic mammals and plants from the Tibetan Plateau and their biogeographical significance”.
The special issue was co-chaired by Prof. Zhou Zhekun of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) and Prof. Deng Tao from Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.
This special topic consists of five papers covering various aspects of Cenozoic biota from the Tibetan Plateau.
The first paper of this special topic addresses the profound environmental changes in Tibet underwent throughout the Cenozoic, when it was transformed from “a paradise of tropical animals and plants” to “the cradle of the Ice Age mammalian fauna”.
Prof. Li and others report a micromammalian fauna from the latest Middle Miocene (about 12.5 Ma) and a pollen flora discovered from the top of the Shimagou Formation in the Kumkol Basin, northern Tibetan Plateau, Xinjiang. Within this work they establish a new extinct species of ground squirrel. Furthermore, they report that the micromammalian fauna from the Kumkol Basin shares high levels of similarity with contemporary faunas from Europe and northern China.
Prof. Ni and others have applied a Bayesian tip-dating method to infer the relationships and divergence times of 50 Asian Paleogene mammalian faunas.
Dr. Huang Jian of XTBG described a plant fossil assemblage from the Pliocene strata of the Zanda Basin in western Tibet.
Prof. Zhou and colleagues describe fossil leaves from a new buckthorn species that they have named Berhamniphyllum junrongiae from the Upper Eocene strata of the Markam Basin, southeastern Tibet, China.
All authors in this special topic participated in the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA2007030102, XDA20070203, XDB26000000) and The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program (STEP).