Hymenaea protera

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Hymenaea protera
Temporal range: Eocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Hymenaea
Species: H. protera
Binomial name
Hymenaea protera
Poinar

Hymenaea protera is an extinct prehistoric leguminous tree, the probable ancestor[verification needed] of present-day Hymenaea species. Most neotropical ambers come from its fossilized resin, including the famous Dominican amber.

H. protera once grew in an extensive range stretching from southern Mexico down to the Proto-greater Antilles, across northern South America, and on to the African continent. Both morphology and DNA studies have revealed that H. protera was more closely related to the only species of Hymenaea remaining in East Africa than to the more numerous American species.

In 1993, chloroplast DNA dated at 35-40 million years old was extracted from the leaf of H. protera, preserved in a fossil amber from the La Toca mines, Dominican Republic.

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