Tempskya is an extinct genus of tree-like fern that lived during the Cretaceous period. The genus is known from several petrified specimens from various locations across the Northern Hemisphere.[2] Specimens have also been recovered in Argentina and Australia.[3]

Temporal range: Cretaceous
Tempskya fossil slab and reconstruction on display
Scientific classification

Corda, 1845[1]


Tempskya sp. - MUSE
Tempskya sp. - Reconstruction at MUSE - Science Museum in Trento

Tempskya was originally described in 1824 as Endogenites erosa before being described as Tempskya by August Carl Joseph Corda in 1845.[1] The four species originally described by Corda were, in order: T. pulchra, T. macrocaula, T. microrrhiza, and T. schimperi.[4]

Tempskya is the sole member of the family Tempskyaceae.[2]


Specimens of Tempskya could grow to be up to 14.75 feet (4.5 meters) tall.[2] Its trunk was actually a large collection of stems surrounded by adventitious roots.[2] The false trunk could be up to 50 cm in diameter.[5] Thin leaves have been discovered for the first time on T. wyomingense specimens;[1] the more commonly seen fossilized leaf bases show that they covered the upper part of the trunk.[2]

Hypothesized growth pattern

Examination of cross sections of various Tempskya specimens shows that those with the largest trunks have the smallest number of stems, and vice versa.[5] From this, a possible growth pattern of Tempskya has been suggested: at the sporeling stage, Tempskya would consist of a single stem, which would begin to branch off distally. A "mantle" of adventitious roots would then develop around the stems to support them. Later on, many of the stems would begin to decay, while the adventitious roots would still provide support and absorb water for the grown plant.[5] This growth pattern has also been hypothesized for Psaronius.[5]

Fossil sites

Tempskya finds were thought to be exclusive to the Northern Hemisphere until specimens were discovered in Argentina and Australia (in 2003 and 2005, respectively). Tempskya fossils have also been discovered in the Czech Republic (2002) and Japan (1986).[3]Tempskya were frequently found fluvial deposited in gravel pits in Germany. Its origin is not clear, in part they came certainly from Czech sites.


  1. ^ a b c Tidwell, William D.; Hebbert, Naomi (September 1992). "Species of the Cretaceous Tree Fern Tempskya from Utah". International Journal of Plant Sciences. 153 (3): 513–528. JSTOR 2995693.
  2. ^ a b c d e Palmer, Douglas; et al. (2009). Prehistoric life : the definitive visual history of life on earth (1st American ed.). New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-7566-5573-0.
  3. ^ a b Gee, Carole T. (2010). "Oldest Known Dicotyledonous Lianas From the Early Late Cretaceous of Utah and New Mexico, U.S.A.". Plants in Mesozoic time : morphological innovations, phylogeny, ecosystems (illustrated ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 271. ISBN 0-253-35456-0. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  4. ^ Stephenson, Lloyd William (1936). "American Cretaceous Ferns of the Genus Tempskya". New Upper Cretaceous Ostreidae From the Gulf Region. Washington: United States Government Printing Office. p. 108. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d Taylor, Thomas N.; Taylor, Edith L.; Krings, Michael (2009). "Ferns and Early Fernlike Plants". Paleobotany : the biology and evolution of fossil plants (2nd ed.). Amsterdam: Academic Press. pp. 457–459. ISBN 0-12-373972-1. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
2018 in paleobotany

This article records new taxa of plants that are scheduled to be described during the year 2018, as well as other significant discoveries and events related to paleobotany that occurred in the year 2018.

Cedar Mountain Formation

The Cedar Mountain Formation is the name given to a distinctive sedimentary geologic formation in eastern Utah. The formation was named for Cedar Mountain in northern Emery County, Utah, where William Lee Stokes first studied the exposures in 1944.

Geology of the Capitol Reef area

The exposed geology of the Capitol Reef area presents a record of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation in an area of North America in and around Capitol Reef National Park, on the Colorado Plateau in southeastern Utah.

Nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 m) of sedimentary strata are found in the Capitol Reef area, representing nearly 200 million years of geologic history of the south-central part of the U.S. state of Utah. These rocks range in age from Permian (as old as 270 million years old) to Cretaceous (as young as 80 million years old.) Rock layers in the area reveal ancient climates as varied as rivers and swamps (Chinle Formation), Sahara-like deserts (Navajo Sandstone), and shallow ocean (Mancos Shale).

The area's first known sediments were laid down as a shallow sea invaded the land in the Permian. At first sandstone was deposited but limestone followed as the sea deepened. After the sea retreated in the Triassic, streams deposited silt before the area was uplifted and underwent erosion. Conglomerate followed by logs, sand, mud and wind-transported volcanic ash were later added. Mid to Late Triassic time saw increasing aridity, during which vast amounts of sandstone were laid down along with some deposits from slow-moving streams. As another sea started to return, it periodically flooded the area and left evaporite deposits. Barrier islands, sand bars and later, tidal flats, contributed sand for sandstone, followed by cobbles for conglomerate, and mud for shale. The sea retreated, leaving streams, lakes and swampy plains to become the resting place for sediments. Another sea, the Western Interior Seaway, returned in the Cretaceous and left more sandstone and shale only to disappear in the early Cenozoic.

From 70 to 50 million years ago the Laramide orogeny, a major mountain building event in western North America, created the Rocky Mountains to the east. The uplift possibly acted on a buried fault to form the area's Waterpocket Fold. More recent uplift of the entire Colorado Plateau and the resulting erosion has exposed this fold at the surface only within the last 15 to 20 million years. Ice ages in the Pleistocene increased the rate of precipitation and erosion. The cracked upper parts of the Waterpocket Fold were especially affected and the fold itself was exposed and dissected.

List of the Mesozoic life of Idaho

This list of the Mesozoic life of Idaho contains the various prehistoric life-forms whose fossilized remains have been reported from within the US state of Idaho and are between 252.17 and 66 million years of age.

List of the Mesozoic life of Utah

This list of the Mesozoic life of Utah contains the various prehistoric life-forms whose fossilized remains have been reported from within the US state of Utah and are between 252.17 and 66 million years of age.

List of the prehistoric life of Idaho

This list of the prehistoric life of Idaho contains the various prehistoric life-forms whose fossilized remains have been reported from within the US state of Idaho.

List of the prehistoric life of Utah

This list of the prehistoric life of Utah contains the various prehistoric life-forms whose fossilized remains have been reported from within the US state of Utah.

Paleontology in Idaho

Paleontology in Idaho refers to paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from the U.S. state of Idaho. The fossil record of Idaho spans much of the geologic column from the Precambrian onward. During the Precambrian, bacteria formed stromatolites while worms left behind trace fossils. The state was mostly covered by a shallow sea during the majority of the Paleozoic era. This sea became home to creatures like brachiopods, corals and trilobites. Idaho continued to be a largely marine environment through the Triassic and Jurassic periods of the Mesozoic era, when brachiopods, bryozoans, corals, ichthyosaurs and sharks inhabited the local waters. The eastern part of the state was dry land during the ensuing Cretaceous period when dinosaurs roamed the area and trees grew which would later form petrified wood.

Cenozoic Idaho had a more hospitable climate than it does today and would come to be home to huge forests and creatures like camels, early horses, mastodons, and sloths. During the Pleistocene, short-faced bears, bison, camels, mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and giant sloths inhabited the state. Local Native Americans devised myths to explain fossils. By the dawn of the 20th century, the state's fossils had come to the attention of formally trained scientists. Major local finds include the 1904 discovery of multiple mammoth skeletons and the 1928 discovery of a Pliocene bonebed. The Pliocene Hagerman horse, Equus simplicidens, is the Idaho state fossil.

Paleontology in Oregon

Paleontology in Oregon refers to paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from the U.S. state of Oregon. Oregon's geologic record extends back approximately 400 million years ago to the Devonian period, before which time the state's landmass was likely submerged under water. Sediment records show that Oregon remained mostly submerged until the Paleocene period. The state's earliest fossil record includes plants, corals, and conodonts. Oregon was covered by seaways and volcanic islands during the Mesozoic era. Fossils from this period include marine plants, invertebrates, ichthyosaurs, pterosaurs, and traces such as invertebrate burrows. During the Cenozoic, Oregon's climate gradually cooled and eventually yielded the environments now found in the state. The era's fossils include marine and terrestrial plants, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, turtles, birds, mammals, and traces such as eggs and animal tracks.

Oregon has a long tradition of paleontological research. Local Native Americans devised myths to explain fossils. By the mid-19th century local fossils had come to the attention of formally trained scientists, and modern research has produced data on climate change and extinction.

The Oligocene dawn redwood Metasequoia occidentalis is the Oregon state fossil.

Tree fern

The tree ferns are the ferns that grow with a trunk elevating the fronds above ground level. Most tree ferns are members of the "core tree ferns", belonging to the families Dicksoniaceae, Metaxyaceae, and Cibotiaceae in the order Cyatheales. This order is the third group of ferns known to have given rise to tree-like forms. The two others are the Marattiales, a eusporangiate order that the extinct Psaronius evolved from, and the order Polypodiales where the extinct genus Tempskya belongs.In addition to those families, many ferns in other groups may be considered tree ferns, such as several ferns in the family Osmundaceae, which can achieve short trunks under a metre tall, and particularly ferns in the genus Cibotium, which can grow ten metres tall. Fern species with short trunks in the genera Blechnum, Calochleana, Cnemedaria, Culcita (mountains only tree fern), Cystodium, Leptopteris, Lophosoria, Sadleria, Thyrsopteris and Todea could also be considered tree ferns in a liberal interpretation of the term.

Wessex Formation

The Wessex Formation is a fossil-rich English geological formation that dates from the Berriasian to Barremian stages (about 145–125 million years ago) of the Early Cretaceous. It forms part of the Wealden Group and underlies the younger Vectis Formation and overlies the Durlston Formation. The dominant lithology of this unit is mudstone with some interbedded sandstones.


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