Charcoalified Fusainized Remains

Recently discovered are three-dimensional insect remains, buried in Cretaceous clays and lignitic peats amidst abundant fossil plant material (Grimaldi et al., 2000a). The remains were found by paleobotanists prospecting for flowers, cones, and other structures that had been fusainized, or rendered to charcoal by ancient forest fires (e.g., Friis et al.,

2.14. A group of pyritized larvae, presumably in a gall or wood cavity, from the Eocene London Clay. NHM In. 64736; diameter of gall 11 mm.

2.15. Spider (Calcitro fisheri) preserved in Miocene-aged onyx from Arizona, which is a form of silica. YPM 17380; length 3.2 mm.

1999; Herendeen et al., 1999). Exposed vegetation burned, and some of it rendered to ash; however, plant fragments and insects buried beneath and within leaf litter and humus (thus sealed somewhat from oxygen) were replicated in carbon with perfect fidelity. Their cuticles, even cell walls, were preserved in exquisite microscopic detail. Diverse flowers preserved this way have revolutionized understanding of angiosperm evolution. Unfortunately, fusainized insects, while preserved in great detail, are extensively disarticulated and represented mostly by heavily sclerotized structures like heads, and isolated mandibles, legs, and elytra.

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