Poaceae phytoliths from the Niassa Rift, Mozambique

Julio Mercader, Fernando Astudillo, Mary Barkworth, Tim Bennett, Chris Esselmont, Rahab Kinyanjui, Dyan Laskin Grossman, Steven Simpson, Dale Walde

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

83 Citas (Scopus)


The most common grass phytoliths from "Zambezian" miombos are described here for the first time. Their potential for long term preservation in sediments makes them a useful tool in the reconstruction of ancient plant communities and plant/human interactions. We processed 60 plant samples (26 identified genera and species), with an average of 300 phytoliths counted per sample to a total of 18,586. Forty-seven morphotypes were described as per the International Code for Phytolith Nomenclature, with exceptions, including forty-five discreet shapes and two articulated forms, which can be used as comparative reference materials. We conducted three forms of statistical analyses: Discriminant Analysis, Cluster Analysis, and Principal Component Analysis. The highest biomineral content was recorded among the Bambuseae and Paniceae, while the lowest silica production is detected in the Cynodonteae tribe. Typologically, the subfamily Panicoideae yielded 50% of the types reported here, 32% are from the Chloridoideae, 12% from the Bambusoideae, and 8% from the Arundinoideae sensu lato. Overall, the idealized Zambezian Poaceae phytolith spectrum is dominated by a small subset of Poaceae short cells, which include five morphotypes conventionally associated with Panicoid grasses (Bilobate concave outer margin long shaft, Bilobate concave outer margin short shaft, Bilobate convex outer margin long shaft, Bilobate convex outer margin short shaft, Cross), one morphotype commonly seen in Chloridoid taxa (saddle), and two types that appear across subfamily boundaries (tower, tower horned). The next logical step to take in regional phytolith research is the account of phytoliths deposited in soils underneath living plants, for they represent the interface between existing vegetation communities and the inevitably distorted fossil assemblages that the paleobotanist uses for environmental reconstruction.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)1953-1967
Número de páginas15
PublicaciónJournal of Archaeological Science
EstadoPublicada - ago. 2010
Publicado de forma externa


Profundice en los temas de investigación de 'Poaceae phytoliths from the Niassa Rift, Mozambique'. En conjunto forman una huella única.

Citar esto