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Arata (animals) Arena theme (plants) system
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Paleozoic Perm
Comparison of the epochs from paleozoology (animals) with paleobotany (plants)

The palaeophytic (also: fern age ; in older literature also pteridophytic ) is a geological period in which the pteridophyta ( German vascular spore plants) formed the predominant class of land plants. The term was formed in 1941 by the geologist Kurd von Bülow in analogy to the Paleozoic .

The beginning of the paleophytic is defined by the first appearance of the pteridophyta in the middle Silurian about 420 million years ago and the end is assumed to be at the boundary between the lower and upper Permians about 256 million years ago, at which the mesophytic begins. However, this demarcation is problematic, as the transition to the gymnosperms dominating in the Mesophytic occurred gradually and no sharp boundary between the Paleo- and Mesophytic can be defined.

After the terrestrial settlement by the primeval ferns at the end of the Obersilur and in the Lower Devonian , the development of the ferns follows . In the Devonian, the northern hemisphere had a warm period, while the southern hemisphere was cool. However, no traces of a possible glacial period were found. In the subsequent Carboniferous , a mild humid climate prevailed in the northern hemisphere , which offered good conditions for the ferns to develop. The Karoo Ice Age began in the Upper Carboniferous on the southern continent of Gondwana ; the glaciation reached its greatest extent at the turn of the Permian and came from at least four glaciation centers in Africa, Antarctica and South America. In the Permian, the Glossopteris flora developed a deciduous vegetation at the edges of the glacial areas, which was adapted to the cool, temperate conditions. In the Permian area of ​​the Tethys there was a tropical belt with arid areas to the north and south . The aridity spread from the turn of Unterperm-Oberperm, whereby the ferns were displaced by xerophytic gymnosperms due to the drought . Extensive hard coal deposits from the Carboniferous in the northern hemisphere and the Permian of the southern continents and India are evidence of this development.


  • Edith L. Taylor; Thomas N. Taylor; Michael Krings: Paleobotany: The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants. Academic Press, 2009, ISBN 0-12-373972-1 .
  • Friedemann Schaarschmidt: Paleobotany. 1. Introduction and Paleophytic. Bibliographical Institute, 1968.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Murawski (1983): Geological dictionary. S. 160, dtv, Munich, ISBN 3-423-03038-0 .
  2. a b Wolfgang Frey and Rainer Lösch (2010): Geobotany. Plant and vegetation in space and time. P. 121, Springer Verlag , ISBN 978-3-8274-2335-1 .
  3. Page of the Research Center for Paleobotany, University of Münster ( Memento of the original from July 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ Roland Walter : Earth history. The history of the continents, the oceans and life . 6th edition, Schweizerbart 2014, pp. 195–196.