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Fossil plants at the intersection of evo-devo and phylogeny: celebrating the contributions of Gar W. Rothwell to biodiversity and evolution

Atkinson, Brian [1], Serbet, Rudolph [2], Ryberg, Patricia E. [3], Taylor, Edith L. [1].

Late Triassic plant diversity in Antarctica: Reassessing the fossil flora of “Alfie’s Elbow”.

Due to Antarctica’s paleogeographic location at the center of Gondwana, fossil deposits from this continent are an essential data source for understanding the paleobiogeographic history and diversification of Mesozoic southern floras. Moreover, the Transantarctic Mountains contain some of the most extensive and continuous terrestrial Triassic sequences in the Southern Hemisphere. This provides an excellent opportunity to examine Gondwanan plant diversity, especially at high/polar latitudes during the early Mesozoic. The 2017-2018 University of Kansas field expedition to the Shackleton Glacier area resulted in the recovery of abundant Late Triassic plants from the “Alfie’s Elbow” locality (upper Fremouw to lower Falla Formations). This locality contains one of the most diverse Triassic compression assemblages known in the central Transantarctic Mountains and has been reported to include Neocalamites, Umkomasia uniramia, Pteruchus, several types of Dicroidium, Telemachus, Heidiphyllum, Taeniopteris, and other taxa. In this reinvestigation of the “Alfie’s Elbow” flora, we examined previously collected material and provide a preliminary report on the fossils recovered from the 2017-2018 field season. Thus far, an additional diversity of ferns and seed plants that had not been previously recognized at this locality or, in some cases Antarctica, have been identified. Newly recognized ferns are represented by leaves of Clathopteris and Cladophlebis. The expanded gymnosperm assemblage includes a conifer leafy stem consisting of helically arranged, needle-shaped leaves with decurrent leaf bases, ginkgophyte leaves of Baiera and ?Ginkgophyllum as well as possible Hamshawvia ovulate structures. Furthermore, an enigmatic seed bearing leaf, a cycadophyte ovulate cone, peltasperm ovulate organs, pollen organs and leaves of Matatiella and Dejerseya have been identified. In addition, silicified peat with charcoalified material was also recovered from the locality. Overall, the newly recognized taxa at this site further our understanding of the floras that existed at high polar latitudes during the Late Triassic.


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1 - University of Kansas, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity Institute, 1200 Sunnyside Drive, Haworth Hall, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045, United States
2 - University Of Kansas, Division Of Paleobotany, Biodiversity Institute, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS, 66045, United States
3 - Park University, Department Of Natural And Physical Sciences, Parkvilee, MO, 64152, United States

Keywords:
Antarctica
Triassic
Mesozoic
seed plants
polar
ferns.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C11a, Fossil plants at the intersection of evo-devo and phylogeny: celebrating the contributions of Gar W. Rothwell to biodiverstiy and evolution Part 1
Location: 110/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: C11a004
Abstract ID:709
Candidate for Awards:None


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