Philippe, M., Jiang, H-E., Kim, K., Oh, C., Gromyko, D., Harland, M., Paik, I-S. & Thevenard, F. (2009) Structure and diversity of the Mesozoic wood genus Xenoxylon in Far East Asia: implications for terrestrial palaeoclimates // Lethaia. Doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2009.00160.x
Although the faunal elements of Far East Asian Mesozoic terrestrial biota have attracted much attention in recent years, their palaeoecology remains poorly known. In particular, features of the palaeoclimate are highly controversial. To address this point we used the Mesozoic fossil wood Xenoxylon, a genus recognized as an indicator of wet temperate biotopes and which is common in the area during the Carnian–Maastrichtian interval. We re-appraised bibliographic data and gathered new data for Xenoxylon in the Mesozoic of Far East Asia. This demonstrated that previous taxonomic approaches to the genus have been so far idiosyncratic. We examined the anatomical diversity of morphogenus Xenoxylon in Far East Asia and compared it to that of samples from Europe. This indicates that in an area centred on north-eastern China, Xenoxylon reached a level of anatomical diversity unmatched elsewhere in the world. We hypothesize that this diversity witnesses the persistence of palaeoecological conditions particularly suitable for Xenoxylon and that a wet temperate climate prevailed over most of the area throughout the Carnian–Maastrichtian interval. It is in this setting that the famous Jehol Biota probably evolved.