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Abstract Detail



Paleobotany

Prestianni, Cyrille [1], Gess, Robert W. [2].

An exceptionally diverse Early Devonian flora from the Lochkovian of South Africa.

The late Silurian to earliest Devonian times are pivotal in the evolution of early terrestrial ecosystems. Palaeontological evidence from this time is however very scarce and is as yet largely restricted to palaeotropical environments. Recently, in the course of an extensive and ongoing survey of the Devonian of South Africa, a rich and diversified Lower Devonian flora has been discovered. The newly found early plant bearing lenses from the Baviaanskloof Formation at Impofu Dam in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa provide evidence for one of the most diverse Late Silurian to Early Devonian assemblages known to date. The only previously known high latitude floras from this time interval are those from the Paraná Basin of Brasil and Argentina, with a single plant species, Dutoitia pulchra, having been reported from southern Africa. The Mpofu Dam flora is comprised of up to twenty taxa including several species of the genus Cooksonia, gametophytes and several yet unresolved specimens though most plants could be related to existing taxa. This flora is particularly remarkable for the large number of complete or sub-complete specimens allowing good understanding of earliest plant architecture. Beside a few notable exceptions, most plant remains at Mpofu Dam appear to be of a similar grade of organisation, typical of early rhyniophytoids, showing characteristics considered plesiomorphic among embryophyte evolution. The assemblage bears the greatest resemblance to Early Lochkovian assemblages from the Parana Basin of Brazil and the Anglo Welsh basin. Biostratigraphic constraints on the dating of the Baviaanskloof Formation are provided by this flora, which represents the oldest known from Africa.


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1 - University Of Liege, Geology Department, Allee Du 6 Aout 14, Li├Ęge, WLG, 4000, Belgium
2 - Rhodes Univeristy, Geology Department and Albany Museum, 40 Somerset St, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, 6139, South Africa

Keywords:
Lochkovian
terrestrialisation
Cooksonia
Devonian.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: PL4, Paleobotany: Honoring Fran Hueber - Session II
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 1:00 PM(EDT)
Number: PL4003
Abstract ID:983
Candidate for Awards:None


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