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Abstract Detail

Paleobotanical Section

Leslie, Andrew [1], Glasspool, Ian [2], Herendeen, Patrick [3], Ichinnorov, Niiden [4], Takahashi, Masamichi [5], Crane, Peter [1].

Schizolepidopsis from the Early Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian) of Mongolia: new information regarding a possible affinity with the Pinaceae.

Characteristic seed cone scales of the genus Schizolepidopsis are widespread in Early Jurassic to Cretaceous Eurasian floras. They have been linked to the conifer family Pinaceae due to their associated vegetative remains and ovulate scale morphology, but their exact affinities are debated. Recently discovered material from the Early Cretaceous of central Mongolia reveals important new information concerning Schizolepidopsis cone scale and seed morphology, and provides further support for a relationship between the genus and the Pinaceae. This material consists of exceptionally preserved seeds, seed cone scales, and articulated cone axes found in lignite seams from Tevshiin Govi, a small open pit coal mine. Both immature and mature cone scales are present in the assemblage, and show that seed cone scales of Schizolepidopsis consist of a bilobed ovulate scale subtended by a small bract. Two inverted seeds are borne on each ovulate scale, one per each lobe, and each seed has an elongate, tubular micropyle. At maturity, the seed is attached to a seed wing derived from the abscission of the adaxial epidermis of the ovulate scale lobe. This type of wing formation is unique to the Pinaceae among living and extinct conifers, and the presence of bisaccate pollen in seed micropyles combined with single-veined needle leaves attached to a cone axis is also consistent with this family. This material suggests Schizolepidopsis is an early member of Pinaceae, therefore potentially extending the fossil record of the group back approximately50 million years to the Late Triassic, based on the stratigraphic range of the genus as a whole. A more precise resolution of the systematic position of Schizolepidopsis requires further information about its pollen cones and the relationship between its leaves and associated Pinaceae-like short shoots found in the assemblage.

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1 - Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 195 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA
2 - Field Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60605, USA
3 - Chicago Botanic Garden, Senior Scientist, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL, 60022, USA
4 - Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Paleontological Center, Ulaanbaatar-51, P.O. Box 260, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Early Cretaceous

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 16
Location: Melrose/Riverside Hilton
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: 16003
Abstract ID:101
Candidate for Awards:None

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