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      Production and preservation of resins - past and present : Resins - past and present

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          Abstract

          Amber is fossilised plant resin. It can be used to provide insights into the terrestrial conditions at the time the original resin was exuded. Amber research thus can inform many aspects of palaeontology, from the recovery and description of enclosed fossil organisms (biological inclusions) to attempts at reconstruction of past climates and environments. Here we focus on the resin itself, the conditions under which it may have been exuded, and its potential path to fossilisation, rather than on enclosed fossils. It is noteworthy that not all plants produce resin, and that not all resins can (nor do) become amber. Given the recent upsurge in the number of amber deposits described, it is time to re-examine ambers from a botanical perspective. Here we summarise the state of knowledge about resin production in modern ecosystems, and review the biological and ecological aspects of resin production in plants. We also present new observations on conifer-derived resin exudation, with a particular focus on araucarian conifer trees. We suggest that besides disease, insect attacks and traumatic wounding from fires and storms, other factors such as tree architecture and local soil conditions are significant in creating and preserving resin outpourings. We also examine the transformation of resin into amber (maturation), focusing on geological aspects of amber deposit formation and preservation. We present new evidence that expands previous understanding of amber deposit formation. Specific geological conditions such as anoxic burial are essential in the creation of amber from resin deposits. We show that in the past, the production of large amounts of resin could have been linked to global climate changes and environmental disruption. We then highlight where the gaps in our knowledge still remain and potential future research directions.

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          Most cited references 140

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          Large igneous provinces and mass extinctions

           P.B. Wignall (2001)
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            The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum: A Perturbation of Carbon Cycle, Climate, and Biosphere with Implications for the Future

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              Superiority, competition, and opportunism in the evolutionary radiation of dinosaurs.

              The rise and diversification of the dinosaurs in the Late Triassic, from 230 to 200 million years ago, is a classic example of an evolutionary radiation with supposed competitive replacement. A comparison of evolutionary rates and morphological disparity of basal dinosaurs and their chief "competitors," the crurotarsan archosaurs, shows that dinosaurs exhibited lower disparity and an indistinguishable rate of character evolution. The radiation of Triassic archosaurs as a whole is characterized by declining evolutionary rates and increasing disparity, suggesting a decoupling of character evolution from body plan variety. The results strongly suggest that historical contingency, rather than prolonged competition or general "superiority," was the primary factor in the rise of dinosaurs.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biological Reviews
                Biol Rev
                Wiley
                14647931
                August 2018
                August 2018
                May 04 2018
                : 93
                : 3
                : 1684-1714
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Geobiology; University of Göttingen; 37077 Göttingen Germany
                [2 ]Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Institute for Advanced Study; 27753 Delmenhorst Germany
                [3 ]Univ Rennes, CNRS, Géosciences Rennes - UMR 6118; 35000 Rennes France
                [4 ]Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki; 00014 Helsinki Finland
                [5 ]Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences; University of Helsinki; 00014 Helsinki Finland
                Article
                10.1111/brv.12414
                29726609
                69c557d1-7293-40b8-bf12-824bc21ac8c7
                © 2018

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