The plant fossils in the paleontological collection of Georg Gasser (1857–1931)

Irene Tomelleri, Rainer Butzmann, Christopher Cleal, Giuseppa Forte & Evelyn Kustatscher

Plant fossils from South Tyrol have been known since the 19th century, but they appear only rarely in the literature on the area; generally, paleontological descriptions have been focused on invertebrate fossils, which were much more famous at the end of the 19th century. The paleontological collection of Georg Gasser (1857–1931) is dominated also by fossils of invertebrates. However, he was fascinated also by plant fossils, both as a window into the past and as being important for understanding the fossil fuels such as coal with which they are often associated. This resulted in a relatively abundant plant fossil collection (281 specimens) that is focused mainly on Carboniferous and Cenozoic fossils extracted during mining activities. Nonetheless, the collection includes also some plant fossils from the Permian and Triassic of the former Tyrol region, such as Zirl or Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi, which today is partly divided into Austria and Italian territories. This is evidence that Georg Gasser was interested also
in local plant fossils, though they are not a primary type of fossils found in the area.

Karbon, Permian, Triassic, Austrian Kingdom, Central Europe

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