München, Germany
München, Germany

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Uhl D.,Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum | Uhl D.,University of Tübingen | Butzmann R.,Fuggerstrasse 8 | Fischer T.C.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 2 more authors.
Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia | Year: 2012

For the first time fossil macroscopic remains of charcoal as direct evidence of palaeo-wildfires from the Late Permian Gröden Formation of the Bletterbach-Butterloch area in Northern Italy is described. The charcoal consists of pycnoxylic wood and originates from gymnosperms, but a more specific affiliation is not possible due to the fragmentary nature of the material. On a global scale our knowledge about Late Permian fire-ecology is still rather scarce and this finding helps to fill one of the numerous geographical gaps in our current knowledge about Late Permian wildfires.


Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | Van Konijnenburg-van Cittert J.H.A.,National Center for Biodiversity Naturalis | Van Konijnenburg-van Cittert J.H.A.,Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology | Bauer K.,Naturmuseum Sudtirol | And 3 more authors.
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology | Year: 2012

A new fossiliferous horizon from the famous Bletterbach area is described. The new megafossil locality of late Permian age yields well-preserved plant megafossils, as well as cuticles and . in situ pollen. In the flora representatives of the horsetails, seed ferns (Sphenopteris, . Lepidopteris, . Peltaspermum), putative cycadophytes (two types of . Taeniopteris), ginkgophytes (three different leaf types) and conifers (Ortiseia, . Pseudovoltzia, . Quadrocladus, . Pagiophyllum) were distinguished. Remains of doubtful botanical attribution comprise . Dicranophyllum-like leaves and . Leptostrobus-type of female fructifications as well as permineralized wood and charcoal. Remains of lycophytes reported from the Bletterbach cannot be confirmed. Some of these groups are recorded for the first time from the Bletterbach. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Bauer K.,Naturmuseum Siidtirol | Bauer K.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Kustatscher E.,Naturmuseum Siidtirol | Kustatscher E.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 5 more authors.
Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia | Year: 2014

Fossil evidence of late Palaeozoic ginkgophytes is rare; Palaeozoic floras in which ginkgophytes are abundant or represent a predominant element have not previously been described. The late Permian (Lopingian) flora from the Groden/Val Gardena Sandstone of the Bletterbach gorge in the Dolomites (northern Italy) contains an unusually large proportion of ginkgophytes. The fossils include the foliage taxa Baiera digitata and Sphenobaiera sp., as well as putative O-ha-tsuki-type fertile leaves, seeds, and several ginkgophyte-like leaf types of uncertain affinities. Local mass occurrences of ginkgophyte leaves have also been observed. The Bletterbach flora suggests that ginkgophytes were important elements in certain vegetation types (probably forests) as early as the late Permian.


Butzmann R.,Fuggerstrasse 8 | Fischer T.C.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Zitteliana Reihe A: Mitteilungen der Bayerischen Staatssammlung fur Palaontologie und Geologie | Year: 2013

Based on specimens from a historical collection from the classical Oligocene locality Armissan (Southern France) fossil fruits of Nym-phaeaceae are described that can be affiliated to the Nymphaeaceae genus Nymphaea subgenus Lotos with confidence. Such findings were first described in 1865 by Saporta from Armissan as an extinct genus, Anoectomeria. However, in the absence of preserved seeds, and due to a misinterpretation of the organisation of the fruits, the fossils could only be affiliated to Nymphaeaceae in general. The identi-fication of the historical specimens with preserved seeds allows a new interpretation of such fossils and, hence their identification as fruits of the subgenus Lotos. Especially the characteristical mode of fruit dehiscence, which leads to typical stigmatic discs in extant as well as in fossil specimens, confirms this affiliation. In this study, the flowers/fruits described by Saporta (rhizome, leaves and isolated seeds were also included in his taxa) are revised to Nymphaea (subgenus Lotos) brongniartii. Comparable Paleogene fossils from other localities are also discussed. Based on N. (L.) brongniartii the minimal geological age of the subgenus Lotos can be determined as Late Oligocene. By interpretation of the comparable Paleogene fossils as belonging to subgenus Lotos the minimal geological age of this taxon would even be Middle Eocene. The Late Oligocene minimal geological age of Lotos is in agreement with phylogenetic trees based on molecular data and allows a better calibration of molecular phylogenetic trees of Nymphaeaceae.


Fischer T.C.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Meller B.,University of Vienna | Kustatscher E.,Museum of Nature South Tyrol | Butzmann R.,Fuggerstrasse 8
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2010

Background. Structural elucidation and analysis of fructifications of plants is fundamental for understanding their evolution. In case of Ginkgo biloba, attention was drawn by Fujii in 1896 to aberrant fructifications of Ginkgo biloba whose seeds are attached to leaves, called O-ha-tsuki in Japan. This well-known phenomenon was now interpreted by Fujii as being homologous to ancestral sporophylls. The common fructification of Ginkgo biloba consists of 1-2 (rarely more) ovules on a dichotomously divided stalk, the ovules on top of short stalklets, with collars supporting the ovules. There is essentially no disagreement that either the whole stalk with its stalklets, collars and ovules is homologous to a sporophyll, or, alternatively, just one stalklet, collar and ovule each correspond to a sporophyll. For the transition of an ancestral sporophyll resembling extant O-ha-tsuki aberrant leaves into the common fructification with stalklet/collar/ovule, evolutionary reduction of the leaf lamina of such ancestral sporophylls has to be assumed. Furthermore, such ancestral sporophylls would be expected in the fossil record of ginkgophytes. Results. From the Upper Permian of the Bletterbach gorge (Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy) ginkgophyte leaves of the genus Sphenobaiera were discovered. Among several specimens, one shows putatively attached seeds, while other specimens, depending on their state of preservation, show seeds in positions strongly suggesting such attachment. Morphology and results of a cuticular analysis are in agreement with an affiliation of the fossil to the ginkgophytes and the cuticle of the seed is comparable to that of Triassic and Jurassic ones and to those of extant Ginkgo biloba. The Sphenobaiera leaves with putatively attached seeds closely resemble seed-bearing O-ha-tsuki leaves of extant Ginkgo biloba. This leads to the hypothesis that, at least for some groups of ginkgophytes represented by extant Ginkgo biloba, such sporophylls represent the ancestral state of fructifications. Conclusions. Some evidence is provided for the existence of ancestral laminar ginkgophyte sporophylls. Homology of the newly found fossil ginkgophyte fructifications with the aberrant O-ha-tsuki fructifications of Ginkgo biloba is proposed. This would support the interpretation of the apical part of the common Ginkgo biloba fructification (stalklet/collar/ovule) as a sporophyll with reduced leaf lamina. © 2010 Fischer et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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