Exceptional preservation of Miocene pollen: plasmolysis captured in salt?
Keywords:Pollen, Salt, Plasmolysis, Exceptional preservation, Miocene
Exceptionally well-preserved Miocene pollen from the Bochnia salt mine of southern Poland is reported herein. The halite deposits within the salt mine belonging to Late Badenian (Miocene) marine evaporites originated in the Paratethys. Rounded and angular structures are present inside pollen grains. On the basis of the similarity with plasmolyzed pollen grains of modern plants, these structures are considered to represent cytoplasms plasmolyzed in the condensed brine prior to fossilization. Two forms of plasmolyzed cytoplasms (concave and convex) can be observed in modern pollen. Both are distinguished in the investigated fossil material. In porate and colporate grains the shape of the plasmolyzed cellular content is concave while in inaperturate it is convex. The plasmolysis form depends on the type of apertures and pollen shape. The percentage of pollen with fossilized cytoplasms within individual taxa is a valuable environmental indicator, as it depends on the proximity of the pollen-producing plant assemblages to the depositional setting.
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