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Permian vegetational Pompeii from Inner Mongolia and its implications for landscape paleoecology and paleobiogeography of Cathaysia

Wang, Jun ; Pfefferkorn, Hermann W ; Zhang, Yi ; Feng, Zhuo

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 27 March 2012, Vol.109(13), pp.4927-32 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Permian vegetational Pompeii from Inner Mongolia and its implications for landscape paleoecology and paleobiogeography of Cathaysia
  • Author: Wang, Jun ; Pfefferkorn, Hermann W ; Zhang, Yi ; Feng, Zhuo
  • Subjects: Ecosystem ; Geography ; Paleontology ; Plants
  • Is Part Of: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 27 March 2012, Vol.109(13), pp.4927-32
  • Description: Plant communities of the geologic past can be reconstructed with high fidelity only if they were preserved in place in an instant in time. Here we report such a flora from an early Permian (ca. 298 Ma) ash-fall tuff in Inner Mongolia, a time interval and area where such information is filling a large gap of knowledge. About 1,000 m(2) of forest growing on peat could be reconstructed based on the actual location of individual plants. Tree ferns formed a lower canopy and either Cordaites, a coniferophyte, or Sigillaria, a lycopsid, were present as taller trees. Noeggerathiales, an enigmatic and extinct spore-bearing plant group of small trees, is represented by three species that have been found as nearly complete specimens and are presented in reconstructions in their plant community. Landscape heterogenity is apparent, including one site where Noeggerathiales are dominant. This peat-forming flora is also taxonomically distinct from those growing on clastic soils in the same area and during the same time interval. This Permian flora demonstrates both similarities and differences to floras of the same age in Europe and North America and confirms the distinct character of the Cathaysian floral realm. Therefore, this flora will serve as a baseline for the study of other fossil floras in East Asia and the early Permian globally that will be needed for a better understanding of paleoclimate evolution through time.
  • Language: English
  • Identifier: E-ISSN: 1091-6490 ; PMID: 22355112 Version:1 ; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1115076109

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