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Temporal range: Middle Devonian
Eospermatopteris erianus.jpg
W. givetiana
Scientific classification

  • W. givetiana Stockmans
  • W. casasii Berry
W. casasii Wattieza casasii.jpg
W. casasii

Wattieza was a genus of prehistoric trees that existed in the mid-Devonian that belong to the cladoxylopsids, close relatives of the modern ferns and horsetails. The 2005 (publicly revealed in 2007) discovery in Schoharie County, New York, of fossils from the Middle Devonian (about 385 million years ago) united the crown of Wattieza to a root and trunk known since 1870. The fossilized grove of "Gilboa stumps" discovered at Gilboa, New York, were described as Eospermatopteris, though the complete plant remained unknown. These fossils have been described as the earliest known trees, standing 8 m (26 ft) or more tall, resembling the unrelated modern tree fern. [1]

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

The Devonian is a geologic period and system of the Paleozoic, spanning 60 million years from the end of the Silurian, 419.2 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Carboniferous, 358.9 Mya. It is named after Devon, England, where rocks from this period were first studied.

Fern group of plants, usually a class

A fern is a member of a group of vascular plants that reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. They differ from mosses by being vascular, i.e., having specialized tissues that conduct water and nutrients and in having life cycles in which the sporophyte is the dominant phase. Ferns have complex leaves called megaphylls, that are more complex than the microphylls of clubmosses. Most ferns are leptosporangiate ferns, sometimes referred to as true ferns. They produce coiled fiddleheads that uncoil and expand into fronds. The group includes about 10,560 known extant species.

Wattieza had fronds rather than leaves, [2] and reproduced with spores. [1]

Spore Unit of asexual reproduction that may be adapted for dispersal and for survival, often for extended periods of time, in unfavorable conditions; spores form part of the life cycles of many plants, algae, fungi and prototype a

In biology, a spore is a unit of sexual or asexual reproduction that may be adapted for dispersal and for survival, often for extended periods of time, in unfavourable conditions. Spores form part of the life cycles of many plants, algae, fungi and protozoa. Bacterial spores are not part of a sexual cycle but are resistant structures used for survival under unfavourable conditions. Myxozoan spores release amoebulae into their hosts for parasitic infection, but also reproduce within the hosts through the pairing of two nuclei within the plasmodium, which develops from the amoebula.

Belgian paleobotanist François Stockmans described Wattieza givetiana in 1968 from fossil fronds collected from Middle Devonian strata in the London-Brabant Massif in Belgium. [3]

The London-Brabant Massif or London-Brabant Platform is in the tectonic structure of Europe a structural high or massif that stretches from the Rhineland in western Germany across northern Belgium and the North Sea to the sites of East Anglia and the middle Thames in southern England.

English geologist and palaeobotanist Chris Berry described Wattieza casasii in 2000 from fossil branches collected from Middle Devonian strata (green mudstones and shales close to the base of the Campo Chico Formation, Givetian) in Cano Colorado, Perija Range, Venezuela. [4]

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Gilboa, New York Town in New York, United States

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Paleobotany branch of botany

Paleobotany, also spelled as palaeobotany, is the branch of botany dealing with the recovery and identification of plant remains from geological contexts, and their use for the biological reconstruction of past environments (paleogeography), and the evolutionary history of plants, with a bearing upon the evolution of life in general. A synonym is paleophytology. It is a component of paleontology and paleobiology. The prefix palaeo- means "ancient, old", and is derived from the Greek adjective παλαιός, palaios. Paleobotany includes the study of terrestrial plant fossils, as well as the study of prehistoric marine photoautotrophs, such as photosynthetic algae, seaweeds or kelp. A closely related field is palynology, which is the study of fossilized and extant spores and pollen.

<i>Glossopteris</i> Genus of extinct plants

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<i>Archaeopteris</i> genus of plants (fossil)

Archaeopteris is an extinct genus of tree-like plant with fern-like leaves. A useful index fossil, this tree is found in strata dating from the Upper Devonian to Lower Carboniferous, and had global distribution.

Fremouw Formation

The Fremouw Formation is a Triassic-age rock formation in the Transantarctic Mountains of Antarctica. Fossils of prehistoric reptiles and amphibians have been found in the formation. Fossilized trees have also been found. The formation's beds were deposited along the banks of rivers and on floodplains. During the Triassic, the area would have been a riparian forest at 70–75°S latitude.

Cladoxylopsida class of plants

The cladoxylopsids are a group of plants known only as fossils that are thought to be ancestors of ferns and horsetails.

Gilboa Fossil Forest

Gilboa Fossil Forest, New York, United States, is cited as home to the Earth's oldest forest. Located near the Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County, New York, the region is home to tree trunks from the Devonian Period, which occurred roughly 380 million years ago. The fossils, some of the only survivors of their type in the world, are remnants of the Earth's earliest forests. This location has been of great interest to paleobotanists since the 1920s when New York City began a water project and excavation for a dam. The project turned up large upright tree stumps from a fossil forest, some of which are on display at the Gilboa Dam site and the New York Power Authority Blenheim-Gilboa Visitor's Center in Schoharie County and at the New York State Museum.

<i>Leclercqia</i> (plant) genus of plants (fossil)

Leclercqia is a genus of early ligulate lycophyte (clubmoss), known as fossils from the Middle Devonian of Australia, North America, Germany, and Belgium.


Polysporangiophytes, also called polysporangiates or formally Polysporangiophyta, are plants in which the spore-bearing generation (sporophyte) has branching stems (axes) that terminate in sporangia. The name literally means many sporangia plant. The clade includes all land plants (embryophytes) except for the bryophytes whose sporophytes are normally unbranched, even if a few exceptional cases occur. While the definition is independent of the presence of vascular tissue, all living polysporangiophytes also have vascular tissue, i.e., are vascular plants or tracheophytes. Fossil polysporangiophytes are known that have no vascular tissue, and so are not tracheophytes.

This article attempts to place key plant innovations in a geological context. It concerns itself only with novel adaptations and events that had a major ecological significance, not those that are of solely anthropological interest. The timeline displays a graphical representation of the adaptations; the text attempts to explain the nature and robustness of the evidence.

<i>Psaronius</i> genus of plants (fossil)

Psaronius was a Marattialean tree fern which grew to 10m in height, and is associated with leaves of the organ genus Pecopteris and other extinct tree ferns. Originally, Psaronius was a name for the petrified stems, but today the genus is used for the entire tree fern. Psaronius tree fern fossils are found from the Carboniferous through the Permian.

<i>Pertica</i> genus of plants (fossil)

Pertica is a genus of extinct vascular plants of the Early to Middle Devonian. It has been placed in the "trimerophytes", a strongly paraphyletic group of early members of the lineage leading to modern ferns and seed plants.

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The Lyginopteridales were the archetypal pteridosperms: They were the first plant fossils to be described as pteridosperms and, thus, the group on which the concept of pteridosperms was first developed; they are the stratigraphically oldest-known pteridosperms, occurring first in late Devonian strata; and they have the most primitive features, most notably in the structure of their ovules. They probably evolved from a group of Late Devonian progymnosperms known as the Aneurophytales, which had large, compound frond-like leaves. The Lyginopteridales became the most abundant group of pteridosperms during Mississippian times, and included both trees and smaller plants. During early and most of middle Pennsylvanian times the Medullosales took over as the more important of the larger pteridosperms but the Lyginopteridales continued to flourish as climbing (lianesent) and scrambling plants. However, later in Middle Pennsylvanian times the Lyginopteridales went into serious decline, probably being out-competed by the Callistophytales that occupied similar ecological niches but had more sophisticated reproductive strategies. A few species continued into Late Pennsylvanian times, and in China persisted into Early Permian (Asselian) times, but then became extinct. Most evidence of the Lyginopteridales suggests that they grew in tropical latitudes of the time, in North America, Europe and China.

<i>Azolla primaeva</i> species of Equisetopsida

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The lowermost Upper Devonian fossil Pallaviciniites was for a time the oldest known liverwort until Metzgeriothallus was recovered from earlier Devonian strata.

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Paleontology in New York (state)

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  1. 1 2 Stein, W. E., F. Mannolini, L. V. Hernick, E. Landling, and C. M. Berry. 2007. "Giant cladoxylopsid trees resolve the enigma of the Earth's earliest forest stumps at Gilboa", Nature (19 April 2007) 446:904-907.
  2. Meyer-berthaud, B.; Decombeix, A.L. (2007). "Palaeobotany: A tree without leaves". Nature. 446 (7138): 861–862. arXiv: 0704.2554 . doi:10.1038/446861a. PMID   17443169.
  3. Berry, Chris (2009). "The Middle Devonian plant collections of Francois Stockmans reconsidered". Geologica Belgica. 12 (1–2): 25–30.
  4. Berry, CM (1 October 2000). "A reconsideration of Wattieza Stockmans (here attributed to Cladoxylopsida) based on a new species from the Devonian of Venezuela". Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. 112 (1–3): 125–146. ISSN   0034-6667. PMID   11042329.