Plant and animal cuticle remains from the Lower Devonian of southern Poland and their palaeoenvironmental significance

Authors

  • PAWEŁ FILIPIAK,

  • MICHAŁ ZATOŃ


Paweł Filipiak [filipiak@us.edu.pl] and Michał Zatoń [mzaton@wnoz.us.edu.pl], Faculty of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia, Będzińska Str. 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland; manuscript received on 20/05/2010; manuscript accepted on 26/08/2010.

Abstract

Filipiak, P. & Zatoń, M. 2010: Plant and animal cuticle remains from the Lower Devonian of southern Poland and their palaeoenvironmental significance. Lethaia, Vol. 44, pp. 397–409.

Assemblages of plant and arthropod remains are reported from the Lower Devonian clastic deposits of the Upper Silesian and Małopolska blocks in southern Poland. Most of the plant and animal remains are palynologically dated as Pragian–Emsian/Eifelian. The plant material comprises higher plant cuticles with stomata classified as Drephanophycus and Sawdonia, and more enigmatic remains (nematophytes) classified as Nematothallus, Cosmochlaina and tubular banded tubes. They are associated with abundant and diverse miospores. Animal remains consist of eurypterid respiratory organs, the morphology of which may presumably point to their advance physiological properties, and cuticular remains of eurypterid and probably scorpion origin, as well as some remains of unknown affinity. The presence of such mixed assemblages in the Lower Devonian of Poland indicate marginal-marine and/or alluvial environments spreading in the southern margin of the Old Red Continent. The dominance of land-derived plant remains and simultaneous scarcity of marine acritarchs indicate that the environment was very weakly influenced by marine conditions. If nematophytes were really related to extant liverworts, as suggested by some workers, they, together with the other associated spore-producing plants, may strongly indicate moist environmental conditions, which may have offered suitable habitats for temporary eurypterid migrations onto land. □Cuticles, eurypterids, Lower Devonian, nematophytes, Poland, spores.

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