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Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 215–240 | Cite as

A high-resolution three-dimensional reconstruction of a fossil forest (Upper Jurassic Shishugou Formation, Junggar Basin, Northwest China)

  • Juliane K HinzEmail author
  • Ian Smith
  • Hans-Ulrich Pfretzschner
  • Oliver Wings
  • Ge Sun
Original Paper

Abstract

This study focuses on the three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of an Late Jurassic fossil forest based on a fossil assemblage located in the Shishugou Formation near Jiangjunmiao, north-eastern Junggar Basin, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Northwest China. On the basis of tree stumps found in growth position together with published data on megaplant fossils, seeds and spores, a high-resolution digital computer model, including different forest layers, was developed. In a study area of 31,500 m², 65 tree stumps with diameters between 0.2 and 2.9 m were mapped and subsequently used for the 3D reconstruction. The forest grew under moist conditions, probably close to the banks of an anastomosing river and consisted primarily of conifers, in particular Araucariaceae. Even though the tree density of the forest is only 22 trees/ha, the 3D reconstruction indicates a relatively closed canopy. Megaplant fossils and spores also show evidence for the presence of Angiopteris, Osmunda and Coniopteris, which were then used to reconstruct the understory of the forest. The trees were modelled in three different growth stages, representing young, older and mature trees, respectively. The growth parameters of individual trees and ferns were randomized in order to avoid duplications within the reconstruction. Detailed textures of leaves, fronds and bark were created to give the plants a more realistic appearance than that in previously published 3D reconstructions of fossil forest assemblages. Estimations of net biomass (approximately 9 tons/ha), annual biomass production and a calculation of nearest neighbour index (0.86) suggest an open forest with spatially distributed trees.

Keywords

Araucaria Three-dimensional reconstruction Biomass estimation Junggar Basin Fossil forest 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Our thanks go to all the staff members of the Geological Survey No. 1 of Xinjiang, Urumqi, as well as to the colleagues of Nanjing, Beijing and Tübingen for their invaluable support during the field work, logistics and organization. We would also like to thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for financially supporting our field trip to China. Furthermore, we would like to thank the reviewers, especially Dr. D. Uhl for their comments and their constructive proposals, which helped to refine this publication. Special thanks also goes to Dr. W. Joyce for his help.

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Copyright information

© Senckenberg, Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliane K Hinz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ian Smith
    • 2
  • Hans-Ulrich Pfretzschner
    • 1
  • Oliver Wings
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ge Sun
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of QueenslandBrightonAustralia
  3. 3.Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung an der Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Paleontological Institute of Shenyang Normal UniversityShenyangChina
  5. 5.Key-Lab for Evolution of Past Life and Environment in NE Asia, Ministry for Education, China (Jilin University)ChangchunChina

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