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The oldest Pinus and its preservation by fire

Howard J. Falcon-Lang, Viola Mages and Margaret Collinson
The oldest Pinus and its preservation by fire
Geology (Boulder) (March 2016) 44 (4): 303-306


Pinus (Pinaceae) is a diverse conifer genus that dominates Northern Hemisphere forests today and is noteworthy for its fire-adapted traits. Here we describe the oldest known fossils attributable to the genus from the Lower Cretaceous (Valanginian, ca. 133-140 Ma) part of the Chaswood Formation of Nova Scotia, Canada. Pinus mundayi sp. nov. comprises charred long-shoots, which show a constellation of derived characters including (1) axial resin ducts with thin-walled epithelial cells in the secondary xylem and phloem, (2) fenestriform or pinoid cross-field pits, and (3) helically arranged short-shoots that pass through growth ring boundaries before distally diverging into two separate needle bases. The fossils, which are interpreted as remains of an evergreen two-needle pine, provide a new constraint on timetrees of Pinaceae evolution. Their preservation as charcoal and the occurrence of resin ducts, which produce flammable terpenes in modern pines, show that Pinus has co-occurred with fire since its Mesozoic origin.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 44
Serial Issue: 4
Title: The oldest Pinus and its preservation by fire
Affiliation: Royal Holloway University of London, Department of Earth Sciences, Egham, United Kingdom
Pages: 303-306
Published: 20160307
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 28
Accession Number: 2016-033024
Categories: Paleobotany
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2016091
Illustration Description: illus.
N45°01'10" - N45°01'10", W64°03'31" - W64°03'31"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201616
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