Abstract

Experiments are presented here in analysis and depiction of Palynodata records. Palynodata, a database of pre-Quaternary records of fossil palynomorphs compiled from global literature, is now available as Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) Open File 5793. Palynodata is a non-random sample of the distributions of palynomorphs. Hence, for any taxon, occurrence records in Palynodata serve as a proxy for its ‘real’ distribution in geological time and paleogeographical space. These experiments may be useful starting points for students of palynology in their exploration of Palynodata records. Palynoplot software bins and plots Palynodata taxa retrievals by time, and by the modern latitude of the study sites. It uses geographical co-ordinates for the study localities in Palynodata and the geological time scale. Such plots reveal temporal and latitudinal distribution patterns, and potential taxonomic and data problems such as outliers and inconsistent taxonomy. Taxonomic studies can be supported by considering time by latitude distributions, in addition to traditional morphology and priorities. The modern latitude of the sites studied gives increasing distortion with geological age. Palynodata output and the study locality file was input for PaleoGIS software to depict occurrence records on paleogeographical maps. PaleoGIS software showed changing occurrence patterns on rotated plates.

An experimental trend surface model of the Jurassic–Cretaceous transition used binned records of common filicale genera which were evolutionarily sensitive between 180 and 100 Ma. The results demonstrate potential for the technique, and lessons for interpretation and future refinement. Common taxa may become useful for biostratigraphical problems and, by calibration against reference sections, this technique might be refined to provide a useful biostratigraphical standard for geological system boundaries. These manipulations of Palynodata records are a ‘proof-of-concept’ demonstration of techniques that may help to reveal the biostratigraphical, paleoecological, and paleoclimatological significance of fossil palynomorphs. Such work also reveals desirable improvements in Palynodata. The precision of indexing species in Palynodata may limit the potential level of chronostratigraphical resolution.

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