Age and identity of the oldest pine fossils

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • British Geological Survey

Abstract

In their study of charred conifer twigs from the Lower Cretaceous
Chaswood Formation of Canada, Falcon-Lang et al. (2016) established
the species Pinus mundayi that they interpreted as a “two needled” pine
and the oldest stratigraphic evidence for the extant genus Pinus. This is
based on their interpretation of what they thought was distinctive wood
anatomy and paired needle bases of Pinus evident in their fossils, while
the Valanginian age (ca. 140‒133 Ma) is based on revised palynostratigraphy.
If correctly interpreted, this material predates the oldest known
species Pinus yorkshirensis from the Hauterivian‒Barremian transition at
ca. 131–129 Ma (Ryberg et al., 2012), and pushes back the earliest
occurrence of the genus by 4–11 m.y. However, we consider that a more
thorough examination reveals that P. mundayi is from the Valanginian–
Barremian (ca. 140–125 Ma) and that Falcon-Lang et al. have misinterpreted
the anatomy of their fossils and erroneously assigned them to the
genus Pinus.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e400-401
JournalGeology
Volume44
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016