Plant remains from the Middle–Late Jurassic Daohugou site of the Yanliao Biota in Inner Mongolia, China
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LWL-Museum of Natural History, Westphalian State Museum and Planetarium, Sentruper Straße 285, DE-48161 Münster, Germany
Palaeobiology Department, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden
School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, 163 Xianlin Avenue, Qixia District, Nanjing 210046, China
Online publication date: 2017-12-19
Publication date: 2017-12-19
Acta Palaeobotanica 2017; 57(2): 185–222
A late Middle–early Late Jurassic fossil plant assemblage recently excavated from two Callovian– Oxfordian sites in the vicinity of the Daohugou fossil locality in eastern Inner Mongolia, China, was analysed in detail. The Daohugou fossil assemblage is part of the Callovian–Kimmeridgian Yanliao Biota of north-eastern China. Most major plant groups thriving at that time could be recognized. These include ferns, caytonialeans, bennettites, ginkgophytes, czekanowskialeans and conifers. All fossils were identified and compared with species from adjacent coeval floras. Considering additional material from three collections housed at major palaeontological institutions in Beijing, Nanjing and Pingyi, and a recent account in a comprehensive book on the Daohugou Biota, the diversity of the assemblage is completed by algae, mosses, lycophytes, sphenophytes and putative cycads. The assemblage is dominated by tall-growing gymnosperms such as ginkgophytes, czekanowskialeans and bennettites, while seed ferns, ferns and other water- or moisture-bound groups such as algae, mosses, sphenophytes and lycophytes are represented by only very few fragmentary remains. The floral composition underlines the Callovian–Kimmeridgian age of the Yanliao Biota. The Daohugou/Yanliao flora is a typical member of the Middle to Late Jurassic Coniopteris-Phoenicopsis assemblage of north-eastern China, differing from the Early Cretaceous Jehol flora. Both floras probably belong to the same cycle of volcanism and sedimentation, although the Daohugou Bed is older than the Yixian Formation. The Yanliao fossil assemblage is placed in a larger palaeo-phytogeographical context and its relationships with Middle–Late Jurassic floras from north-eastern China, north-eastern and eastern Siberia and Japan are evaluated.