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Structure and diversity of the Mesozoic wood genus Xenoxylon in Far East Asia: implications for terrestrial palaeoclimates

Authors

  • MARC PHILIPPE,

  • HONG-EN JIANG,

  • KYUNGSIK KIM,

  • CHANGHWAN OH,

  • DMITRY GROMYKO,

  • MELISE HARLAND,

  • IN-SUNG PAIK,

  • FREDERIC THÉVENARD


Marc Philippe [philippe@univ-lyon1.fr], UMR5125 (PEPS) of the CNRS, France; Université de Lyon; Université Lyon 1 (Campus de la Doua, Darwin A) F69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France; Hong-En Jiang [jianghongen4731@vip.sina.com], State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, P.R.China; Kyungsik Kim [kksik@chonbuk.ac.kr], Faculty of Biological Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 561-756, Korea; Changhwan Ho [bluegaia@chonbuk.ac.kr], Faculty of Biological Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 561-756, Korea; Dmitry Gromyko [dvgromyko@gmail.com], Komarov Botanical Institute, 2 Prof. Popova Street, 197376 Russia; Melise Harland [melise_harland@yahoo.co.uk], School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK (now at CASP, University of Cambridge, West Building, 181A Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0DH); In-Sung Paik [paikis@pknu.ac.kr], Department of Environmental Geosciences, Pukyong National University, Pusan, 608-737, Korea; Frédéric Thévenard [thevenar@univ-lyon1.fr], UMR5125 (PEPS) of the CNRS, France; Université de Lyon; Université Lyon 1 (Campus de la Doua, Darwin A) F69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France

Abstract

Although the faunal elements of Far East Asian Mesozoic terrestrial biota have attracted much attention in recent years, their palaeoecology remains poorly known. In particular, features of the palaeoclimate are highly controversial. To address this point we used the Mesozoic fossil wood Xenoxylon, a genus recognized as an indicator of wet temperate biotopes and which is common in the area during the Carnian–Maastrichtian interval. We re-appraised bibliographic data and gathered new data for Xenoxylon in the Mesozoic of Far East Asia. This demonstrated that previous taxonomic approaches to the genus have been so far idiosyncratic. We examined the anatomical diversity of morphogenus Xenoxylon in Far East Asia and compared it to that of samples from Europe. This indicates that in an area centred on north-eastern China, Xenoxylon reached a level of anatomical diversity unmatched elsewhere in the world. We hypothesize that this diversity witnesses the persistence of palaeoecological conditions particularly suitable for Xenoxylon and that a wet temperate climate prevailed over most of the area throughout the Carnian–Maastrichtian interval. It is in this setting that the famous Jehol Biota probably evolved.

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