The Seed Cone Eathiestrobus gen. nov.: Fossil Evidence for a Jurassic Origin of Pinaceae Public Deposited

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  • Premise of the study: Pinaceae and nonpinoid species are sister groups within the conifer clade as inferred from molecular systematic comparisons of living species and therefore should have comparable geological ages. However, the fossil record for the nonpinoid lineage of extant conifer families is Triassic, nearly 100 million years older than the oldest widely accepted Lower Cretaceous record for Pinaceae. An anatomically preserved fossil conifer seed cone described here extends the stratigraphic range of Pinaceae nearly 30 million years, thus reducing the apparent discrepancy between evidence from the fossil record and inferences from systematic studies of living species. Methods: Material was prepared as serial thin sections by the cellulose acetate peel technique, mounted on microscope slides, and viewed and photographed using transmitted light. Key results: A large cylindrical cone consisting of bract-scale complexes that diverge from the cone axis in a helical phyllotaxis has bracts and scales that separate from each other in the midregion and are of equal length and of nearly equal width. The cone has two inverted and winged seeds that are attached to the adaxial surface of each cone scale and, thus, represents an early member of the Pinaceae. Conclusions: Eathiestrobus mackenziei gen. et sp. nov. extends the fossil record for well-documented members of the family Pinaceae from the Lower Cretaceous to the Kimmeridgian Stage of the Upper Jurassic. This species also clarifies the set of characters that are diagnostic for seed cones of Pinaceae and reveals possible plesiomorphic characters for seed cones of the family.
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  • Rothwell, G. W., Mapes, G., Stockey, R. A., & Hilton, J. (2012). The seed cone eathiestrobus gen. nov.: Fossil evidence for a jurassic origin of pinaceae. American Journal of Botany, 99(4), 708-720. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1100595
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Deborah Campbell (deborah.campbell@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-07-30T18:33:45Z No. of bitstreams: 1 RothwellGarWBotanyPlantPathologySeedConeEathiestrobus.pdf: 3956064 bytes, checksum: 29be6ade02784453fe9c49b9e7b5afc4 (MD5)
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