Karafit, Steven J. , Stockey, Ruth A. .
The Eden Main flora: Permineralized plants from the Upper Cretaceous (Coniacian) of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Upper Cretaceous (Coniacian) calcium carbonate nodules collected from the Eden Main fossil localities in the Dunsmuir Member, Comox Formation contain a large number of anatomically preserved fossil plants. Mollusc remains indicate that these nodules were formed in a shallow marine depositional environment. The fossil flora is diverse and contains both vegetative and reproductive plant parts including those of bryophytes, ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms. Delicate leafy bryophyte gametophytes suggest that these plants have not traveled an extensive distance before deposition and preservation. Ferns are common at the sites and include osmundaceous fern rachides, schizaeaceous fertile pinnules, gleicheniaceous rachides and possible rhizome, a cyatheaceous tree fern rachis with pinnae, several unknown solenostelic rhizomes, and miscellaneous rachides. Gymnosperms include cycad seeds, cupressaceous leaves, pinaceous leaves, wood, and miscellaneous pollen and ovulate cones. Angiosperms have the highest species richness and include, platanoid inflorescences, lauraceous flowers and vegetative organs, cornalean fruits, as well as unknown wood, leaves, flowers, inflorescences and several (>20) types of fruits/seeds. The most common fossil taxa at the site belong to the taxodiaceous Cupressaceae, common in Upper Cretaceous floras, and the gleicheniaceous ferns. Charcoal is common at the sites. Angiosperm wood is often found charcoalified, which could indicate that fire played a large role in the plant community. The Eden Main fossil localities reveal a rich, diverse plant community from the Upper Cretaceous. Fossil evidence suggests that this was a time of rapid speciation in angiosperms, which occupied the understory and shared the canopy with conifers; while ferns may have filled the niche left open after wildfires.
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1 - University of Alberta, Department of Biological Sciences, Biological Sciences Centre, Cw 405, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E9, Canada
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Williford A/Hilton
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2007
Time: 10:30 AM