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Abstract Detail

Paleobotanical Section

Stevenson, Robert A. [1], Evangelista, Dennis [1], Looy, Cindy V [1].

Flight of the conifers: Reconstruction of the flight characteristics of Paleozoic winged conifer seeds.

A voltzian conifer from the late Early Permian (~270 million years ago) from north-central Texas is the earliest known that produces one-winged seeds. The winged seeds of this conifer are exceptional in that they have variable morphology. They bear either one or two wings on the chalazal end of the seed, with the second wing ranging in size from a stub to a wing equal in size to that of the primary wing. To examine the aerodynamics of the different wing types and their implications on dispersal potential, we present the flight performance of same scale models of the geometric morphometric consensus of three seed morphotypes. To test the validity of such modeling as an inferential tool, descent of the models and extant analogs were captured with high speed video. The flight characteristics were compared to morphologically similar winged seeds of extant Agathis taxa as well as similarly created Agathis models. Based on our observations, we infer ranges of descent speeds, auto-rotational stability, possible descent patterns, and dispersal potentials for the voltzian seeds. Reconstruction of these early forms of seed flight provides insight into why the single winged seeds are prevalent in extant taxa.

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1 - University of California, Berkeley, Integrative Biology, 3060 Valley Life Sciences Building #3140, Berkeley, CA, 94720-3140, USA

winged seed

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 12
Location: Melrose/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 4:00 PM
Number: 12010
Abstract ID:328
Candidate for Awards:Isabel Cookson Award,Maynard F. Moseley Award

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