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Which name(s) should be used for Araucaria-likefossil wood? – Results of a poll
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6723-239X
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2014 (English)In: Taxon, ISSN 0040-0262, E-ISSN 1996-8175, Vol. 63, 177-184 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Araucarioxylon Kraus is a widely known fossil-genus generally applied to woods similar to that of the extant Araucariaceae. However, since 1905, several researchers have pointed out that this name is an illegitimate junior nomenclatural synonym. At least four generic names are in current use for fossil wood of this type: Agathoxylon Hartig, Araucarioxylon, Dadoxylon Endl. and Dammaroxylon J.Schultze-Motel. This problem of inconsistent nomenclatural application is compounded by the fact that woods of this type represent a wide range of plants including basal pteridosperms, cordaitaleans, glossopterids, primitive conifers, and araucarian conifers, with a fossil record that extends from the Devonian to Holocene. Conservation of Araucarioxylon has been repeatedly suggested but never officially proposed. Since general use is a strong argument for conservation, a poll was conducted amongst fossil wood anatomists in order to canvass current and preferred usage. It was found that the community is divided, with about one-fifth recommending retention of the well-known Araucarioxylon, whereas the majority of others advocated use of the legitimate Agathoxylon. The arguments of the various colleagues who answered the poll are synthesized and discussed. There is clearly little support for conservation of Araucarioxylon. A secondary aspect of the poll tackled the issue as to whether Araucaria-like fossil woods should be either gathered into a unique fossil-genus, or whether two fossil-genera should be recognized, based on the respective presence or absence of axial parenchyma. A majority of colleagues favoured having one fossil-genus only. Agathoxylon can be used legitimately and appears to be the most appropriate name for such woods. However, its original diagnosis must be expanded if those woods lacking axial parenchyma are to be included.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
International Association for Plant Taxonomy , 2014. Vol. 63, 177-184 p.
Keyword [en]
Agathoxylon; Araucarioxylon; Dadoxylon; fossil wood; nomenclature
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
The changing Earth
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-985DOI: DOI 10.12705/631.7OAI: diva2:769709
Swedish Research Council, 2010-3931
Available from: 2014-12-08 Created: 2014-12-08 Last updated: 2015-12-02

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