Permo-Triassic fossil woods from the South African Karoo Basin

Bamford, Marion K
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Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
The Karoo Basin extends over more than half of the South African land surface and incorporates sediments deposited over a period of more than 100 million years, from the Upper Carboniferous to the Lower Jurassic. Biozones have been established on the basis of the abundant vertebrate fauna. Fossil plant deposits are numerous but best represented by the Lower Permian Glossopteris floras and Middle to Upper Triassic Dicroidium floras. Fossil woods occur throughout the sequence. In this paper previously described woods are discussed, newly collected woods are described and an attempt is made to correlate the woods with the Formations and vertebrate biozones. Prototaxoxylon africanum (Walton) Krausel and Dolianiti is common but restricted to the Permian (Ecca and Lower Beaufort Groups). Prototaxoxylon uniseriale Prasad has the same distribution but is rare. Australoxylon teixeirae Marguerier extends from the Ecca to the middle Beaufort. Araucarioxylon occurs throughout the Karoo but there are several species that have different ranges. Araucarioxylon africanum Bamford sp. nov. occurs throughout the Beaufort and into younger deposits. Araucarioxylon karooensis Bamford sp. nov. occurs in the Normandien Formation of the Beaufort Group. Woods with podocarpacean affinities, recognized as Mesembrioxylon, first occur in the uppermost Beaufort and extend into the Cretaceous. The woods can, therefore, be used as broadscale biostratigraphic indicators but further data need to be collected.
gymnosperm woods, Araucarioxylon, Australoxylon, Mesembrioxylon, Prototaxoxylon, biostratigraphy