Wood anatomical variability in Early Permian ‘araucarioids’

in IAWA Journal
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Although araucarioid wood is poor in diagnostic characters, well in excess of 200 Late Paleozoic species have been described. This study presents a largescale anatomical analysis of this wood type based on the fossil wood collections from the Early Permian Mengkarang Formation of Sumatra, Indonesia. Principal Component Analysis visualisation, in conjunction with uni- and multivariate statistical analyses clearly show the wood from the Mengkarang Formation to be a contiguous micromorphological unit in which no individual species can be distinguished. Pycnoxylic wood species described previously from this collection or other collections from the Mengkarang Formation fall within the larger variability described here. Based on comparison with wood from modern-day Araucariaceae, the Early Permian specimens can be differentiated from extant (but unrelated) “araucarioids” by a few (continuous) characters.

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