Smith, Peter Hamilton (1984)
Fossil fungi from early Tertiary deposits of southern England.
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A selective review of fungi in the fossil record is given, special consideration being given to the more dubious and perhaps extravagant claims for Precambrian occurrences of fossil fungi. The various taxonomic and nomenclatural methods that are used and have been proposed for both epiphyllous remains and dispersed fossil fungal spores are detailed and some alternative procedures are suggested. Especial emphasis is placed upon the necessity for population study techniques to establish taxonomic limits for variability within taxa for dispersed fossil fungal spores irrespective of which classification and nomenclatural system is followed.
Two early Tertiary deposits, one Palaeocene (Newbury) and one Eocene (Hordle Cliff) have yielded extremely diverse fossil fungal floras, encompassing epiphyllous forms and dispersed spores. After a brief description of the geology of the two sites, the epiphyllous forms are studied in detail. Specimens attributable to the following form-taxa are reported for the first time from British Tertiary deposits: Callimothallus, Cribrites, Meliolinites, Trichothyrites, and Stomiopeltites and the creation of a new form-genus Actinopeltites is proposed. The modern affinities of these form-taxa in relation to taxonomic revisions of the living ascomycete families concerned is discussed.
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Institution: University of London, Bedford College (United Kingdom).