Which name(s) should be used for Araucaria-like fossil wood?—Results of a poll
Araucarioxylon Kraus is a widely known fossil-genus generally applied to woods similar to that of the extant Arau- cariaceae. 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.
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Document Type: Research Article
DAStietz, Museum für Naturkunde, 09111 Chemnitz, Germany
UMR 5276 of the CNRS and Université Lyon 1, 69622 Villeurbanne, France;, Email: [email protected]
Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Budapestlaan 4, 3584 CD Utrecht, the Netherlands, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, P.O. Box 2317, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
Department of Paleobotany, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, 104 05 Stockholm, Sweden
Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science, Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Albertov 6, 128 43 Praha, Czech Republic
Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Budapestlaan 4, 3584 CD Utrecht, the Netherlands
Publication date: 20 February 2014
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