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Studies on North American Pecopterids. III. Pecopteris buttsii D. White from the Early Pennsylvanian of Alabama

Robert A. Gastaldo
Journal of Paleontology
Vol. 58, No. 1 (Jan., 1984), pp. 63-77
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1304734
Page Count: 15
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Studies on North American Pecopterids. III. Pecopteris buttsii D. White from the Early Pennsylvanian of Alabama
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Abstract

The form genus Pecopteris Brongniart is rare in Lower Pennsylvanian strata. Those species originally described from North America need to be reinvestigated to determine their relationship to the more extensively described European forms. The occurrence of early Pennsylvanian pecopterids is significant because they represent the early history of this group, which becomes dominant in the Westphalian D. Pecopteris buttsii D. White was originally established for a lobate pinnuled pecopterid from the Brookwood coal horizon (New River equivalent, Westphalian A), Warrior coalfield, Alabama. The species was invalidly published and a study of the type specimen was initiated to discern its affinity. Attempts at collecting additional specimens from the type area have failed and the formal description is based upon fragments of seven third or possibly fourth order(?) pinnae. Additional specimens of P. buttsii(?) from Tennessee were also examined to discern their relationship with the holotype. Consideration of parameters necessary to erect form taxa is highly complex and many factors must be assessed prior to establishment of a new form. These parameters include the degree of morphological homology between specimens and their reported temporal isolation or continuation. Frequency of occurrence should not be considered as a delimiting character nor should size or preservational configuration. Comparison of the holotype of P. buttsii with other Westphalian pecopterids reveals that P. buttsii is conspecific with P. volkmannii Sauveur and that certain forms of P. vestita Lesquereux and P. pseudovestita D. White may also be synonymous. Based on the continual reported occurrence of P. volkmannii throughout the Westphalian and the indistinguishable character of P. volkmannii and P. lamuriana Heer, P. lamuriana is reduced to a synonym of P. volkmannii. The Tennessee specimens which may have been classified as P. buttsii and curated in the Department of Geology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are not conspecific with P. volkmannii and are poorly preserved so that clear identification is not possible. These fragmentary specimens are tentatively assigned to P. unita Brongniart and the P. miltonii Artis complex.

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