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Taphonomy in General
Plant Fossil Preservation and Plant Taphonomy
Abscission and Tissue Separation in Fossil and Extant Plants
Pith Cast and "in situ" Preservation
Three-Dimensionally Preserved Plant Compression Fossils
Permineralized Plants and the Process of Permineralization
Petrified Forests
Bacterial Biofilms (Microbial Mats)
Molecular Palaeobotany
Pyrite Preservation
Upland and Hinterland Floras
Log Jams and Driftwood Accumulations
Leaf Litter and Plant Debris
Wound Response in Trees
Fungal Wood Decay: Evidence from the Fossil Record

! Leaf Size and Shape and the Reconstruction of Past Climates@
! Overviews of Plant Fossil Lagerstätten and Their Palaeoenvironments@
X-ray and Tomography@
Teaching Documents about Plant Anatomy@
Plant Anatomy@

Collecting Bias: Our Incomplete Picture of the Past Vegetation

G.A. Astorga et al. (2016): Towards understanding the fossil record better: Insights from recently deposited plant macrofossils in a sclerophyll-dominated subalpine environment. Abstract, Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 233: 1-11. See also here.

F. Battista et al. (2023): Post-collection taphonomy, sampling effects and the role of the collector in palaeontological collections: A case study from an early Late Triassic bone accumulation in southernmost Brazil. In PDF, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 68: 359–372.
"the content of a palaeontological collection can also be strongly biased, leading researchers to post-collection skewed results. Post-collection biases (e.g., breakage, loss of fragments, etc.) are directly linked to human activities, occurring during excavation, transport, preparation, and storage ..."

R.J. Burnham (2008): Hide and Go Seek: What Does Presence Mean in the Fossil Record. Abstract, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 95: 51-71. See also here (in PDF).

! R.J. Burnham (1993): Reconstructing Richness in the Plant Fossil Record. Abstract, Palaios, 8: 376-384.

R.J. Burnham (1989): Relationships between standing vegetation and leaf litter in a paratropical forest: implications for paleobotany. Abstract, Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 58: 5-32. See also here (in PDF).

! E. Capel et al. (2023): The effect of geological biases on our perception of early land plant radiation. Free access, Palaeontology, 66.
"... geological incompleteness remains a fundamental bias for describing early plant diversification. This indicates that, even when sampling is extensive, observed diversity patterns potentially reflect the heterogeneity of the rock record, which blurs our understanding of the early history of land vegetation ..."

P.J. Coorough Burke et al. (2024): Mazon Creek Fossils Brought to You by Coal, Concretions, and Collectors. Abstract, Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 543.
"... The Mazon Creek biota includes over 465 animal and 350 plant species representing more than 100 orders, which is attributed to the preservation of organisms from multiple habitats and the large number of specimens collected. That phenomenon was made possible by coal extraction bringing concretions to the surface and highly motivated amateur collectors pursuing them ..."

W.A. DiMichele et al. (2021): Plant-Fossil Taphonomy, Late Pennsylvanian Kinney Quarry, New Mexico, USA. Google books, In: Lucas, S.G., DiMichele, W.A. and Allen, B.D. (eds): Kinney Brick Quarry Lagerstätte. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin, 84.
See also here (in PDF), and there.

T. Djokic et al. (2023): Inferring the age and environmental characteristics of fossil sites using citizen science. Open access, PLoS ONE, 18: e0284388.
"... we report on a citizen science approach that was developed to identify microfossils in situ on the surface of sedimentary rocks.
[...] scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to automatically acquire 25,200 high-resolution images from the surface
[...] The images were published on the citizen science portal DigiVol, through which 271 citizen scientists helped to identify 300 pollen and spores ..."

M.P. Donovan et al. (2021): Atlas of Selected Kinney Quarry Plant Fossils, Late Pennsylvanian, Central New Mexico. Google books, In: Lucas, S.G., DiMichele, W.A. and Allen, B.D. (eds): Kinney Brick Quarry Lagerstätte. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin, 84.
See also here (in PDF, starting on PDF-page 164).

E.M. Dunne et al. (2022): Ethics, law, and politics in palaeontological research: The case of Myanmar amber. Open access, Communications Biology, 5.
"... we conduct a bibliometric analysis of Myanmar amber publications (1990–2021)
[...] An analysis of the authorship networks for publications on amber inclusions reveals how current research practices have excluded Myanmar researchers from the field. In addition, the international trade of Myanmar amber with fossil inclusions falls into a legal ‘grey-zone’ which continues to be exploited. ..."

I.H. Escapa and D. Pol (2011): Dealing with incompleteness: New advances for the use of fossils in phylogenetic analysis. PDF file, Palaios, 26: 121-124.
See also here.

J.T. Flannery-Sutherland et al. (2022): Global diversity dynamics in the fossil record are regionally heterogeneous. Open access, Nature Communications, 13.

C.T. Gee et al. (2022): First water lily, a leaf of Nymphaea sp., from the Miocene Clarkia flora, northern Idaho, USA: Occurrence, taphonomic observations, floristic implications. In PDF, Fossil Imprint, 78: 288–297.
See likewise here
"... it would be expected that fossil water lily leaves in an ancient pond or lake would make up a sizeable proportion of any fossil plant assemblage
[...] the remains of aquatic macrophytes are strangely uncommon in freshwater deposits of the Cenozoic [...] even if the occurrence of one nymphaealean leaf or seed indicates that water lilies had colonized that body of water.
[...] In other ancient freshwater deposits well known as conservation lagerstätten [...] water lily fossils make up a very small proportion of the entire fossil flora ..."

! D.R. Greenwood (1991): The Taphonomy of Plant Macrofossils. PDF file, chapter 7, pp. 141-169;
In: Donovan, S.K. (Ed.) The Processes of Fossilization. Belhaven Press, London, 303 pp.
Worth checking out: Book review (by M. Romano).

S. Guo et al. (2023): A new method for examining the co-occurrence network of fossil assemblages. Free access, Communications Biology, 6.
Go to: TaphonomeAnalyst.

S.M. Holland (2023): The contrasting controls on the occurrence of fossils in marine and nonmarine systems. In Pdf, Bollettino della Società Paleontologica Italiana, 62: 1-25. See also here.
Note figure 1: Schematic cross-section along a dip-line through a sedimentary basin, showing principal surfaces and systems tracts of a depositional sequence.
Figure 2: Characteristics of marine and inland systems tracts and their relationships to the ratio of accommodation and sediment flux.
"... knowing how the stratigraphic record is constructed is crucial not just for recognizing the limits of the fossil record, but also for knowing what can be gained from it. This is the domain of stratigraphic paleobiology ..."

A.P. Hunt and S.G. Lucas (2023): The Four Principal Megabiases in the Known Fossil Record: Taphonomy, Rock Preservation, Fossil Discovery and Fossil Study. Open access, Proceedings, 87. IECG2022-13956.

A. Hunter et al. (2005): Field sampling bias, museum collections and completeness of the fossil record. In PDF, Lethaia, 38: 305–314.
See also here.

J.B.C. Jackson and K.G. Johnson (2001): Measuring Past Biodiversity. In PDF, Science, 293.
See likewise here.

! E. Kustatscher et al. (2016): The Krasser collection in the Faculty of Sciences, Charles University, Prague: New insights into the Middle Jurassic flora of Sardinia. In PDF, Fossil Imprint, 72: 140-154.
This expired link is now available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
See especially text-fig. 2: Diagram showing contrast between compositions of 3 collections.

E. Kustatscher et al. (2012): Taphonomical implications of the Ladinian megaflora and palynoflora of Thale (Germany). Abstract, Palaios, 27: 753–764. See also here (in PDF).

N.B. Raja et al. (2020): The overlooked realities of sampling bias. Abstract, Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, 52, doi: 10.1130/abs/2020AM-356351

A. Raymond and C. Metz (1995): Laurussian land-plant diversity during the Silurian and Devonian: mass extinction, sampling bias, or both? Abstrfact, Paleobiology, 21.

A. Rosas et al. (2022): The scarcity of fossils in the African rainforest. Archaeo-paleontological surveys and actualistic taphonomy in Equatorial Guinea. In PDF, Historical Biology, DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2022.2057226.
See also here.

P.W. Signor and J.H. Lipps (1982): Sampling bias, gradual extinction patterns and catastrophes in the fossil record. Abstract, GSA Special Papers, 190: 291-296. See also here (in PDF).

S.M. Slater and C.H. Wellman (2015): A quantitative comparison of dispersed spore/pollen and plant megafossil assemblages from a Middle Jurassic plant bed from Yorkshire, UK. Open access, Paleobiology, 41: 640–660. See also here.
"... Preferential occurrence/preservation of sporomorphs and equivalent parent plants is a consequence of a complex array of biological, ecological, geographical, taphonomic, and depositional factors that act inconsistently between and within fossil assemblages, which results in notable discrepancies between data sets. ..."

D.M. Smith and J.D. Marcot (2015): The fossil record and macroevolutionary history of the beetles. Proc. R. Soc., B, 282. See also here (in PDF).

! J.J. Wiens (2003): Missing data, incomplete taxa, and phylogenetic accuracy. Free access, Systematic Biology, 52: 528–538.
"... The problem of missing data is widely considered to be the most significant obstacle in reconstructing phylogenetic relationships of fossil taxa
[...] The goal of this study has been identify the general mechanisms by which missing data may affect phylogenetic accuracy ..."

C.H. Woolley et al. (2024): Quantifying the effects of exceptional fossil preservation on the global availability of phylogenetic data in deep time: Open access, PLoS ONE, 19. e0297637.
"... we quantify the amount of phylogenetic information available in the global fossil records of 1,327 species of non-avian theropod dinosaurs, Mesozoic birds, and fossil squamates [...] and then compare the influence of lagerstätten deposits on phylogenetic information content and taxon selection in phylogenetic analyses to other fossil-bearing deposits ..."

C.H. Woolley et al. (2022): A biased fossil record can preserve reliable phylogenetic signal. Open access, Paleobiology, 2022, pp. 1–16.

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This index is compiled and maintained by Klaus-Peter Kelber, Würzburg,
Last updated November 02, 2023