Mindell, Randal , Stockey, Ruth A. , Beard, Graham .
New fagaceous fruits from the Eocene of western North America.
More than 800 new permineralized fagaceous fruits have been studied from the Eocene Appian Way locality of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. These cupulate nuts are the most common fruits preserved at the locality. They occur in calcareous concretions and were studied using the cellulose acetate peel technique. Cupules are borne on a spiny stalk and are broadly ovate in both longitudinal and transverse section. Cupules are evalvate and have both branching and simple spines. A single, ovoid, sclerotic nut is enclosed entirely by the cupule, except at the apex, where a stylar protrusion is free from any surrounding tissues. The nut is bilocular with a glabrous endocarp lining. At maturity, a single seed occupies the locular cavity. The embryo is straight and no endosperm is evident. The single-fruited, spiny cupule is most similar to fruits of Fagaceae subfamily Castaneoideae. Bicarpellate fruits and a glabrous endocarp place them within the fossil genus Cascadiacarpa; however, they differ from C. spinosa in nut wall anatomy, cupule ornamentation, shape, and size. The fruits are compared to spiny, small compression/impression fossil fruits from the Eocene Taneum Creek locality of Washington State, which have been identified in collections as Ceratophyllum. The characters of the Washington State fossils overlap with those observed in the anatomically preserved Appian Way cupulate fruits, and as such their identification as Ceratophyllum is suspect. The permineralized fruits document that evalvate, spiny, cupulate nuts of Fagaceae were present and common in the Eocene of western North America.
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1 - University of Alberta, Department of Biological Sciences, Biological Sciences Centre, Cw 405, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E9, Canada
2 - Vancouver Island Paleontological Museum, 151 West Sunningdale, Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, V9K 1K7, Canada
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 11:00 AM