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Unknown phytoliths found in the Caribbean (Jamaica and Dominican Republic)

Has anyone seen these before? They seem like many different phytolith forms but all been affected the same. Some look like elongates and other like a couple of globulars fused together? I wondered if it was something to do with burning? The only similar thing I could see online was something about pyrolisation?

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Fused globular morphotypes are common in some Zingiberales (e.g. Heliconia sp.).

Check this paper by Chen and Smith (2013), Phytolith variability in Zingiberales



Yes the globular type ones do look similar to the fused globulars in Zingerberales from the Chen and Smith paper. But there are many which are more elongated or irregular that don't look like globulaars at all. For example the left hand one circled in the first image, left one in second image, two right hand ones in third image and the one circled in the final image. There are some which look like troughs too which I suspected were Zingerlerales but they are unclear because of the surface ornamentation. The peaks in these types that I am observing match with peaks in charcoal, and they are absent in the deepest samples which are pre-occupation. Which is why I was wondering about some sort of heating/burning.


Thanks for the paper,



Hi All,

Is it possible these linked bodies have conical apices?  If so, they could be sedges. Sedges form linked bodies with surface decorations such as that.



 Thanks for posting this great and knowledgeable content i really like it

 Thanks for posting this great and knowledgeable content i really like it