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Abstract Detail


A Century Of Wood Anatomy and 75 Years Of IAWA

Wheeler, E.A. [1].

Fossil Dicot Wood. Old and New.

PETRIFIED logs might be considered paleobotany's analog of dinosaur skeletons because of their general appeal. In the U.S., petrified woods, often spectacular, are conserved within National Monuments and National Parks, for example, the layer cake mountains of fossil forests of Yellowstone National Park and the in situ late Cretaceous stumps of Big Bend National Park. In spite of fossil wood's relative abundance and over 100 years of thin-sectioning, there are surprisingly few detailed descriptions and discussions of fossil wood in the scientific literature. As a result of a cooperative effort in the 1990s, a database for fossil dicot woods that have information on both age and anatomy was compiled. New descriptions have been added so that there are now over 1500 records. This database is a source of information on the earliest occurrence of woods of different clades and can be used to track changes in wood anatomical diversity through time. High proportions of parenchyma characterize many Cretaceous woods and some have character combinations that are rare in extant woods. Examples are provided of the systematic information that can come from fossil wood, e.g., within the Fagales, Ulmaceae and Acer. The uses, some potential, some realized, of fossil wood for reconstructing ancient environments and climates are discussed, including the temporal and spatial distribution of ring porous woods, estimates of specific gravity to infer forest type and growth dynamics, and stable carbon isotope analyses.


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Related Links:
wood anatomy database
International Association of Wood Anatomists


1 - NC State Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27601-1029, USA

Keywords:
fossil wood
Cretaceous
database
wood anatomy.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: 36-3
Location: 102/Plumas
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 9:15 AM
Abstract ID:652


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