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Giant horsetail tree from Permian of Germany (free pdf)



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


At the risk of annoying some DML members, I decided to post this link
to an article about a giant, tree-size horsetail from the Early
Permian of Germany. It's a plant and it's not Mesozoic, but
discoveries of unusal giant prehistoric life forms are always kind of
fascinating. Paleoartists might be interested for recreating ancient
landscapes. Plus it's REAL (unlike the supposed giant dinosaur eggs
from Chechnya), it's springtime when plants grow--and the pdf is FREE.


Zhuo Feng, Thorid Zierold and Ronny Rößler (2012)
When horsetails became giants.
Chinese Science Bulletin (advance online publication)
2012, DOI: 10.1007/s11434-012-5086-2
http://www.springerlink.com/content/91p51j54122t5374/

Horsetails arose in the Late Devonian, evolved a greater diversity and
forming fast growing bamboo-like thickets in the Carboniferous lowland
swamp forest ecosystems. However, the diversity of this group
drastically declined during the Permian while the climate became more
dynamic and arid. Today only a single surviving genus exists, the
herbaceous Equisetum. Here we report an exceptional large horsetail
tree from the Early Permian Petrified Forest of Chemnitz. This fossil
horsetail tree is assigned to Arthropitys bistriata (Cotta) Goeppert.
It is 15 m high and over 25 cm in diameter, with thick wood and at
least 3 orders of woody branching system formed a big canopy, and is
morphologically very comparable with the living woody higher plants.
This suggests that the plasticity mechanism of Permian calamitaleans
enabled novel growth strategies when they competed with the rising
gymnosperms during the environmental changes.