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An unexpected noncarpellate epigynous flower from the Jurassic of China

Fu, Q; Diez, JB; Pole, M; Avila, MG; Liu, ZJ; Chu, H; Hou, YM; Yin, PF; Zhang, GQ; Du, KH; Wang, X

ELIFE
2018
VL / 7 - BP / - EP /
abstract
The origin of angiosperms has been a long-standing botanical debate. The great diversity of angiosperms in the Early Cretaceous makes the Jurassic a promising period in which to anticipate the origins of the angiosperms. Here, based on observations of 264 specimens of 198 individual flowers preserved on 34 slabs in various states and orientations, from the South Xiangshan Formation (Early Jurassic) of China, we describe a fossil flower, Nanjinganthus dendrostyla gen. et sp. nov.. The large number of specimens and various preservations allow for an evidence-based reconstruction of the flower. From the evidence of the combination of an invaginated receptacle and ovarian roof, we infer that the seeds of Nanjinganthus were completely enclosed. Evidence of an actinomorphic flower with a dendroid style, cup-form receptacle, and angiospermy, is consistent with Nanjinganthus being a bona fide angiosperm from the Jurassic, an inference that we hope will re-invigorate research into angiosperm origins.

AccesS level

DOAJ Gold, Green Published

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PROYECTO FINANCIADO POR PLAN NACIONAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN AGENCIA ESTATAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN, MINISTERIO DE CIENCIA E INNOVACIÓN. PID2019-109127RB-I00