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Wilson 1980; Barton and Wilson 2005), particularly from work at the Horsefly site, which will be specifically treated by M. Early workers considered these deposits to be Oligocene or Miocene (Scudder 1878, 1895; G. 2005; Mortensen and Archibald, personal communication). Life in the Early Eocene was making a large step toward modernization following events such as the great extinction at the end of the Cretaceous and the brief, intense interval of global warming at the Paleocene–Eocene boundary (Zachos et al. Here, in the Okanagan Highlands, numerous groups of animals and plants make their first appearances in the fossil record; for example, genera such as hazel (Corylus) and hornbeam (Carpinus) in the birch family (Betulaceae); the oldest known service-berry (Amelanchier), snow-wreath (Neviusia), and cherry (Prunus) in the rose family (Rosaceae); winter-hazel (Corylopsis) and witch-alder (Fothergilla) in the witchhazel family (Hamamelidaceae); and beech (Fagus) in the beech family (Fagaceae) (e.g. While Lagerstätten such as the Late Eocene Florissant and Middle Eocene Messel preserve an extraordinary range of life in fine detail (Meyer 2003; Schaal and Ziegler 1992), they reflect the environments around single lakes. Research into lake environments, depositional settings and taphonomic processes in the Okanagan Highlands has resulted in highly influential papers (e.g. Wilson in a subsequent paper in this Canadian Lagerstätten series. Recent Ar and U–Pb analyses have pushed back their ages a bit further into the latter half of the Early Eocene (Villeneuve and Mathewes 2005; Moss et al. Adiantum fern pinna (close-up of portion of I); note the preservation of sori (arrow); I. For example, taxa that are characteristic of the eastern hardwood forests of North America today and also represented in the Okanagan Highlands flora include elm (Ulmus, Fig. 3F), as well as more rare occurrences of Dipteronia, Eucommia (Fig. We also acknowledge the generous assistance of Catherine Brown and Karl Volkman of the Stonerose Interpretive Center in Republic, WA. G., 2005, Fossil biotas from the Okanagan Highlands, southern British Columbia and northeastern Washington State: Climates and ecosystems across an Eocene landscape: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. In the Early Eocene, the world experienced the highest temperatures of the Cenozoic, notably during hyperthermal events, when atmospheric carbon dioxide greatly exceeded modern levels (Zachos et al. The Okanagan Highlands forests show similarities to those of modern eastern USA, but also include many taxa that today occur in East Asia and the Pacific Northwest, alongside some that are now extinct, helping elucidate the origins and history of lineages characteristic today of microthermal broad-leaved deciduous and coniferous forests (Wolfe 1987; Manchester 1999). We wish to acknowledge Richard Hebda of the Royal BC Museum for permission to collect at the BC sites, and John Howard and Scott Mc Millan of BC Parks for facilitating work at Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park (under BC Parks permit). Megafossils are commonly spectacularly well preserved as compressions featuring colour patterns on insects’ wings, exquisite whole flowers of Florissantia, and delicate ferns like the floating Azolla (Fig. 4), and showing minute details of epidermal cell patterns of leaves (Fig.

3L–M), beech (Fagus), hazel (Corylus), hornbeam (Carpinus), birch (Betula), maple (Acer, Fig. Relict taxa that are today restricted to East Asia, but were more widespread in the Early Eocene, include typical Okanagan Highlands taxa such as dawn redwood (Metasequoia, Fig. We thank Marlow Pellatt (Parts Canada) for access to microphotography equipment. Preservation of the stunning detail often seen in these fossils (Figs. Abaxial cuticle, outer surface, showing stomata and papil late epidermal cells (one of two visible stomata circled). These early collections resulted in a variety of studies in paleoentomology (Scudder 1877; Handlirsch 1910); paleobotany (e.g. century, beginning with work on pollen in the 1960s (Rouse and Mathews 1961; Mathews 1964; Hills 1965; Hills and Baadsgaard 1967), then gaining momentum in the 70s with the first description of the Mc Abee flora (Verschoor 1974) and examination of the exquisitely detailed three-dimensional plant fossils of the Princeton chert (Miller 1973; Basinger 1976, 1984; Basinger and Rothwell 1977; Cevallos-Ferriz et al. Wolfe and Wehr 1987), leading to a series of papers with a broader regional view, often inspired by talented amateur American paleobotanist Wes Wehr’s promotion of Okanagan Highlands paleontology (e.g. Fossils of the Okanagan Highlands are typically preserved in lacustrine shales. Famous examples include the Eocene sites at Florissant, Colorado (Meyer 2003) and Messel, Germany (Schaal and Ziegler 1992), and the Cambrian Burgess Shale of British Columbia (Gould 1989). Also, there are several poorly pre served small insects, conifer needles, and other fossils not indicated here. A series of Early Eocene sites collectively called the Okanagan Highlands also fits this description well.

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