Li, Hongqi .
Occurrence of Crown Eudicot Angiosperm - Sarraceniacean-like Pitcher Plants - in the Early Cretaceous, China.
Recently, the earliest known angiosperm Archaefructus liaoningensis and A. sinensis are suspected to be of possible crown group of angiosperms rather than sister taxa of all extant angiosperms. However, multiple lines of evidence (e.g., cymose inflorescence, small bisexual flowers, orthotropous ovules, etc.) found on a new species, Archaefructus eoflora*, suggest that Archaefructus is a neither primitive nor crown angiosperm, but among the basal dicots. Another coeval fossil plant, Sinocarpus, is proposed to be a basal eudicot. Thus, although recent molecular studies suggest that crown angiosperms should have occurred between 148-208 mya, no true crown eudicot angiosperms have been found in the Yixian Formation (125 mya) yet. Here I report a new fossil plant taxon, Archaeamphora longicervia gen. et sp. nov. Li, from the site of Archaefructus liaoningensis in the same Yixian Formation, northeastern China. The plants are herbaceous and similar to modern sarraceniaceans in having spirally arranged developed/underdeveloped pitchers that have parallel major veins and reticulate meshes, distinctive honey-spoon-like structures, and porous cuticularized glands on the inner surface. The intimately associated seeds are reticulate-tuberculate and winged, resembling sarraceniacean seeds. The unique pitcher and characteristic seed together suggest a relationship to Sarraceniaceae of the crown group of angiosperms. The relationship to angiosperms is also supported with fossil molecule oleanane found from Archaeamphora, using GC-MS. Archaeamphora demonstrates the earliest carnivorous plant and the only fossil record of pitcher plants. Also, as the third genus of the earliest known angiosperms, the existence of such highly derived core eudicot angiosperm suggests that flowering plants should have originated much earlier, possibly in the Late Paleozoic as molecular clock studies predicted. *Ji, Q., H. Li, L. M. Bowe, Y. Liu, & D. W. Taylor, 2004, Early Cretaceous Archaefructus eoflora sp. nov. with bisexual flowers from Beipiao, western Liaoning, China. Acta Geologica Sinica 78: 883-896.
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Fossil pitcher plants Archaeamphora of crown angiosperms found in Early Cretaceous, China.
1 - Department of Biology, 101 Braddock Rd, Frostburg, Maryland, 21532, USA
fossil carnivorous plants, Early Cretaceous, fossil pitcher plants, origin of crown angiosperms, Sarraceniaceae, Yixian Formation..
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Date: Monday, August 15th, 2005
Time: 2:15 PM