Dispersed Angiosperm Cuticles
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Dispersed leaf cuticles are the second most abundant component of the angiosperm fossil record, but the study of dispersed angiosperm cuticles is still in its infancy. This paper reviews previous studies of dispersed angiosperm cuticles and discusses important features of cuticular anatomy and the occurrence of dispersed cuticles in the rock record. The stratigraphic density of dispersed cuticles is second only to that of pollen and spores, and dispersed cuticles more closely reflect local flora than palynomorphs. This means that dispersed cuticles are best suited to studies that require both greater facies resolution than what is obtainable for palynomorphs and greater sampling density than what is obtainable for megafossils. Reconstruction of paleocommunities/paleovegetation has been the most common use of dispersed cuticles, but other potentially productive uses include the reconstruction of paleofloras and analyses of angiosperm diversification and extinction.