Woody charcoal with traces of pre-charring decay from the Late Oligocene (Chattian) of Norken (Westerwald, Rhineland-Palatinate, W Germany)
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Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ambiente e Desenvolvimento, Universidade do Vale do Taquari – UNIVATES (PPGAD/UNIVATES), Lajeado, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Submission date: 2019-10-02
Online publication date: 2020-06-29
Publication date: 2020-06-29
Acta Palaeobotanica 2020; 60(1): 43–50
A variety of traces of pre-charring decay are described from coniferous charcoals from the Norken locality, stratigraphically positioned within the Breitscheid Formation (Late Oligocene, Chattian) of the Westerwald area (Rhineland-Palatinate; W Germany). The traces include three-dimensionally preserved as well as collapsed fungal hyphae, collapsed filamentous structures (maybe related to ascomycetes), so-called shot-like holes of different diameters in cell walls of tracheids, as well as crater-like structures on the surface of tracheid walls. The latter occur on tracheids with bordered pits, in the direct vicinity of charred phloem (so far only rarely reported from pre-Quaternary charcoal). These observations, together with evidence that some of the charcoal fragments originated from wood that dried out prior to charring, point to a surface fire as the most likely source of the charcoal, although it cannot totally be ruled out that (partly) dead but still standing trees were affected during a crown fire. The data from the Late Oligocene of Norken provide further evidence that pre-Quaternary charcoal can be used as an additional, so far largely underutilized source for additional information about plant– microorganism interactions in deep time.