Mummified Wood of Juniperus (Cupressaceae) from the Late Miocene of Taman Peninsula, South Russia

Anna V. Stepanova, Anastasia A. Odintsova, Alena I. Rybkina, Yuliana V. Rostovtseva, Alexei A. Oskolski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Juniperus L. is the second-largest genus of conifers, having the widest distribution of all conifer genera. Its phytogeographic history is, however, obscure due to its very poor fossil record. We described a wood of Juniperus sp. from the lower Maeotian sediments of the Popov Kamen section, Taman Peninsula, South Russia, in order to clarify its taxonomic position shedding light on the phytogeographic history of the genus. This fossil wood was well-preserved by mummification, which allowed for it to be studied by the same methods as used for the anatomical examination of modern woods. The wood from the Popov Kamen section shows the greatest similarity to the extant Mediterranean species J. excelsa, belonging to the section Sabina. This is the first reliable macrofossil evidence of the sect. Sabina from Eurasia convincingly dated to the Miocene. The age of the mummified wood from the Popov Kamen section is consistent with molecular dating of diversification of the lineage comprising juniper species of the sect. Sabina from Europe, Asia and eastern Africa. The wood of Juniperus sp. has not been buried in situ, as it was found in the relatively deep-water marine sediments. The available coeval pollen series and macrofossils of Cupressaceae from the surrounding regions suggest that this wood was likely transferred by sea current from the northwestern side of the Black Sea, which was a part of the Eastern Paratethys.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2050
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Cupressaceae
  • Eastern Paratethys
  • Maeotian
  • conifers
  • wood anatomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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