75. Niklas, K. J., Brown, Jr. R. M., Santos, R., and B. Vian. 1978. Ultrastructure and cytochemistry of Miocene angiosperm leaf tissues. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 75:3263-3267.

75. Abstract

Angiosperm leaf fossils (16.7-25 x 106 years by potassium/argon dating) referable to Zelkova were isolated from pyroclastic deposits in the Succor Creek Formation, Oregon. These fossils reveal a three-dimensional structure in mesophyll cell layers and vascular bundles, while transmission electron microscopy of fixed tissues reveals well-preserved chloroplasts with grana stacks and starch, as well as nuclei with condensed chromatin. Transmission electron microscopy indicates that cell walls retain a cellulosic microfibrillar architecture, while ultrastructural and cytochemical confirmation is presented for chloroplast starch and the presence of native cellulose. The preservation of cell walls and cytologic structures in fossil materials of this age indicates an unusually mild fossilization process attending the post-depositional maturation of associated sediments. The preservation observed appears to be associated with rapid physical dehydration coupled with endogenous fixation by organic acids (possibly tannins and/or chlorophyll derivatives).

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Last modified 27 October 2005.
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