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BACKGROUND AND AIMS The extant species of the seed plant group Gnetales (Ephedra, Gnetum and Welwitschia) have been considered a remnant of a much greater, now extinct, diversity due to the pronounced differences in form and ecology among the genera. Until recently, this hypothesis has not been supported by evidence from the fossil record. This paper adds(More)
BACKGROUND Knowledge on fossil and evolutionary history of the Gnetales has expanded rapidly; Ephedra and ephedroids as well as the Gnetum-Welwitschia clade are now well documented in the Early Cretaceous. However, hypotheses on evolutionary relationships among living and fossil species are hampered by restricted knowledge of morphological variation in(More)
A molecular dating of the phylogenetically basal eudicots (Ranunculales, Proteales, Sabiales, Buxales and Trochodendrales sensu Angiosperm Phylogeny Group II) has been performed using several fossils as minimum age constraints. All rbcL sequences available in GenBank were sampled for the taxa in focus. Dating was performed using penalized likelihood, and(More)
Over the past 25 years the discovery and study of Cretaceous plant mesofossils has yielded diverse and exquisitely preserved fossil flowers that have revolutionized our knowledge of early angiosperms, but remains of other seed plants in the same mesofossil assemblages have so far received little attention. These fossils, typically only a few millimetres(More)
Phylogenetic analyses have identified the water lilies (Nymphaeales: Cabombaceae and Nymphaeaceae), together with four other small groups of flowering plants (the 'ANITA clades': Amborellaceae, Illiciales, Trimeniaceae, Austrobaileyaceae), as the first diverging lineages from the main branch of the angiosperm phylogenetic tree, but evidence of these groups(More)
Three-dimensionally preserved unisexual angiosperm flowers and inflorescences have been recovered from the Lower Cretaceous Patapsco Formation (Potomac Group) of eastern North America, in sediments palynologically dated as late Albian, approximately 100 million years old. In situ tricolpate pollen shows that the flowers were produced by some of the earliest(More)
Eudicots, the most diverse of the three major clades of living angiosperms, are first recognized in the latest Barremian-earliest Aptian. All Early Cretaceous forms appear to be related to species-poor lineages that diverged before the rise of core eudicots, which today comprise more than 70% of angiosperm species. Here, we report the discovery of a(More)
The rapid diversification of angiosperms through the Early Cretaceous period, between about 130-100 million years ago, initiated fundamental changes in the composition of terrestrial vegetation and is increasingly well understood on the basis of a wealth of palaeobotanical discoveries over the past four decades and their integration with improved knowledge(More)
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