Paleoclimates of the Cenozoic of Egypt: Evidence from Fossil Plants

Document Type : Review Article


1 Botany Department, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

2 Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University


Paleoclimatology is the study and reconstruction of past climates for which direct measurements were not taken. Paleoclimatologists, paleobotanists and geologists use a number of proxies to study the past climatic changes and to understand the natural variation and evolution of the current situation; as climate change in the 21st century has been regarded as a threatening issue.

Paleoclimate interpretation using fossil plants is one of the most important contributions of paleobotany to earth sciences, as they are considered as reliable indicators of long-term climatic changes, especially during the Cenozoic era; which encompassed a wide range of climates.

Research work on the fossil flora of Egypt has started 150 years ago; with paleoclimate inferences being displayed in the different references. Thus, this review collates all the Egyptian paleobotanical and paleopalynological data to reconstruct the Cenozoic climate in Egypt. Spanning through the epochs of the Cenozoic era; woods, leaves, fruits, seeds, pollen and spores have been recorded from different sites. Apparently, the paleoenvironments differed but a tropical to subtropical climate was prevalent during the Cenozoic in Egypt. However, the usage of different proxies, other than fossil plants will reveal a better picture of the past climate.


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