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Data from: Quantitative plant taphonomy: the cosmopolitan Mesozoic fern Weichselia reticulata as a case study

Citation

Blanco-Moreno, Candela; Martín-Abad, Hugo; Delgado-Buscalioni, Angela (2022), Data from: Quantitative plant taphonomy: the cosmopolitan Mesozoic fern Weichselia reticulata as a case study, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1rn8pk0xg

Abstract

A quantitative approach to plant taphonomy focusing on preservation type and fragment size is tested by comparing 3338 Weichselia reticulata fragments from 25 Lower Cretaceous localities of different ages and depositional environments. Moreover, palaeobiological insights are also obtained from the taphonomic analyses. In the case of the specimens of Weichselia reticulata included in this work, charred remains are the most frequent preservation type. They are the smallest and most homogeneous in size, probably due to the fragmentation of the fronds while burning and to the fact that burnt fragments are more fragile and break easily during the initial abrasion and attrition produced by transport. The sizes of charred fragments vary depending on the depositional environment, suggesting that biostratinomic processes, and not fire temperature, are the main cause for size differences, and providing valuable insight into the distance the remains might have traveled from production to final deposition. The taphonomic analyses suggest that Weichselia reticulata is allochthonous in all the localities analysed, and that its habitat would have been prone to fire and not far from freshwater systems. This case study shows promising results that can be implemented on different plant groups and chronostratigraphic ages, allowing for the proposal of a taphonomic model.

Methods

Dataset for quantitative taphonomy of Weichselia reticulata:

This dataset was collected from fossil specimens of Weichselia reticulata housed in museums or directly from the field. It has been uploaded as two csv files  "Database Weichselia fragments.csv" and "Database Weichselia fragments_associations.csv".

The data is organized as follows:

- Provenance of the specimen is specified as the locality where the specimen was unearthed. Provenance 2 was added to differentiate 3 areas in the locality of Buenache that are very distinct.

- Specimen number corresponds to the catalog numbers of the specimen in the museum where they are housed (abbreviations are indicated in the material and methods section of the manuscript).

- Preservation type is recorded as C (charred), I (impression), L (iron-oxide), D (calcite infilling).

- Measurements are in cm and were mostly taken directly on the specimens, their maximum length is registered. Measurements correspond to the longest linear measurement of the specimen, except for curved pinnae where several measurements were taken along the curvature of the specimen to register a more robust length.

- The completeness of the specimen is also recorded, a specimen is considered complete when the whole fragment is visible, it has not been covered by sediment or the rock has been fragmented making it impossible to see if the specimen has continuity or not.

- When specimens are in association with each other this has been marked in the "In association" column. Hand specimens with more than 8 associated pinnae are registered in the "Database Weichselia Fragments_associations.csv" file. In this file, columns are the same except for the "In association" column where an identification number is given to each association (from 1 to 48 in sequential order).

- Specimens housed in museums have a specimen number for reference and have been marked as "museum" in the museum/field column. Specimens from the field generally do not have specimen numbers (as they were mostly not collected) and are marked as "field" in the museum/field column.

Usage Notes

All files are .csv or .txt

Funding

Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Award: CA1/RSUE/2021-00703

European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP7 Integrating Activities Program, Award: BE-TAF-6350

Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Award: PID2019-105546GB-I00

European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP7 Integrating Activities Program, Award: FR-TAF-6323

European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP7 Integrating Activities Program, Award: GB-TAF-69