91 results match your criteria carboniferous plants


Ancient noeggerathialean reveals the seed plant sister group diversified alongside the primary seed plant radiation.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Mar 8;118(11). Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Indiana Geological and Water Survey, Bloomington, IN 47404;

Noeggerathiales are enigmatic plants that existed during Carboniferous and Permian times, ∼323 to 252 Mya. Although their morphology, diversity, and distribution are well known, their systematic affinity remained enigmatic because their anatomy was unknown. Here, we report from a 298-My-old volcanic ash deposit, an in situ, complete, anatomically preserved noeggerathialean. Read More

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An expanded diversity of oomycetes in Carboniferous forests: Reinterpretation of Oochytrium lepidodendri (Renault 1894) from the Esnost chert, Massif Central, France.

PLoS One 2021 2;16(3):e0247849. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

335-330 million-year-old cherts from the Massif Central, France, contain exceptionally well-preserved remains of an early forest ecosystem, including plants, fungi and other microorganisms. Here we reinvestigate the original material prepared by Renault and Roche from collections of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, and present a re-evaluation of Oochytrium lepidodendri (Renault 1894), originally described as a zoosporic fungus. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) was used to study the microfossils, enabling us in software to digitally reconstruct them in three-dimensional detail. Read More

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The origin of Darwin's "abominable mystery".

Am J Bot 2021 01 22;108(1):22-36. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK.

The phrase "Darwin's abominable mystery" is frequently used with reference to a range of outstanding questions about the evolution of the plant group today known as the angiosperms. Here, I seek to more fully understand what prompted Darwin to coin the phrase in 1879, and the meaning he attached to it, by surveying the systematics, paleobotanical records, and phylogenetic hypotheses of his time. In the light of this historical research, I argue that Darwin was referring to the origin only of a subset of what are today called angiosperms: a (now obsolete) group equivalent to the "dicotyledons" of the Hooker and Bentham system. Read More

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January 2021

Invisible contaminants and food security in former coal mining areas of Santa Catarina, Southern Brazil.

J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 2020 Aug 14;16(1):44. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Laboratório de Ecologia Humana e Etnobotânica, Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Background: Mining activities have environmental impacts due to sediment movement and contamination of areas and may also pose risks to people's food security. In Brazil, the majority of coal mining activities are in the south, in the Santa Catarina carboniferous region. In this region, previously mined areas contaminated with heavy metals frequently occur nearby inhabited zones. Read More

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Reconstructing development of the earliest seed integuments raises a new hypothesis for the evolution of ancestral seed-bearing structures.

New Phytol 2021 02 9;229(3):1782-1794. Epub 2020 Aug 9.

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.

How plant seeds originated remains unresolved, in part due to disconnects between fossil intermediates and developmental genetics in extant species. The Carboniferous fossil Genomosperma is considered among the most primitive known seeds, with highly lobed integument and exposed nucellus. We have used this key fossil taxon to investigate the evolutionary origins of seed development. Read More

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February 2021

The origin of tetrapod herbivory: effects on local plant diversity.

Proc Biol Sci 2020 06 10;287(1928):20200124. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, UK.

The origin of herbivory in the Carboniferous was a landmark event in the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems, increasing ecological diversity in animals but also giving them greater influence on the evolution of land plants. We evaluate the effect of early vertebrate herbivory on plant evolution by comparing local species richness of plant palaeofloras with that of vertebrate herbivores and herbivore body size. Vertebrate herbivores became diverse and achieved a much greater range of body sizes across the Carboniferous-Permian transition interval. Read More

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Multiple origins of dichotomous and lateral branching during root evolution.

Nat Plants 2020 05 4;6(5):454-459. Epub 2020 May 4.

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Roots of extant vascular plants proliferate through lateral branching (euphyllophytes) or dichotomy (lycophytes). The origin of these distinct modes of branching was key for plant evolution because they enabled the development of structurally and functionally different root systems that supported a diversity of shoot systems. It has been unclear when lateral branching originated and how many times it evolved. Read More

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Carboniferous plant physiology breaks the mold.

New Phytol 2020 08 8;227(3):667-679. Epub 2020 Apr 8.

Center for Integrative Geosciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA.

How plants have shaped Earth surface feedbacks over geologic time is a key question in botanical and geological inquiry. Recent work has suggested that biomes during the Carboniferous Period contained plants with extraordinary physiological capacity to shape their environment, contradicting the previously dominant view that plants only began to actively moderate the Earth's surface with the rise of angiosperms during the Mesozoic Era. A recently published Viewpoint disputes this recent work, thus here, we document in detail, the mechanistic underpinnings of our modeling and illustrate the extraordinary ecophysiological nature of Carboniferous plants. Read More

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A left-handed fern twiner in a Permian swamp forest.

Curr Biol 2019 11;29(22):R1172-R1173

State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology and Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. Electronic address:

The twining habit is a climbing strategy that helps slender plants grow upward by using circumnutation around other plants. In geological history, climbing may have already been present in the first Middle Devonian forests, as indicated by possible climbers among aneurophytalean progymnosperms [1] and lycopsids [2]. By the late Carboniferous, climbing was both more common and diverse - preserved in swamp forests with modes of attachment ranging from aerial roots to appendages modified into hooks and tendrils on the leaves [3]. Read More

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November 2019

The evolution and genomic basis of beetle diversity.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 12 18;116(49):24729-24737. Epub 2019 Nov 18.

Institut für Zoologie und Evolutionsforschung, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, D-07743 Jena, Germany.

The order Coleoptera (beetles) is arguably the most speciose group of animals, but the evolutionary history of beetles, including the impacts of plant feeding (herbivory) on beetle diversification, remain poorly understood. We inferred the phylogeny of beetles using 4,818 genes for 146 species, estimated timing and rates of beetle diversification using 89 genes for 521 species representing all major lineages and traced the evolution of beetle genes enabling symbiont-independent digestion of lignocellulose using 154 genomes or transcriptomes. Phylogenomic analyses of these uniquely comprehensive datasets resolved previously controversial beetle relationships, dated the origin of Coleoptera to the Carboniferous, and supported the codiversification of beetles and angiosperms. Read More

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December 2019

Origin of horsetails and the role of whole-genome duplication in plant macroevolution.

Proc Biol Sci 2019 11 30;286(1914):20191662. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK.

Whole-genome duplication (WGD) has occurred commonly in land plant evolution and it is often invoked as a causal agent in diversification, phenotypic and developmental innovation, as well as conferring extinction resistance. The ancient and iconic lineage of is no exception, where WGD has been inferred to have occurred prior to the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) boundary, coincident with WGD events in angiosperms. In the absence of high species diversity, WGD in is interpreted to have facilitated the long-term survival of the lineage. Read More

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November 2019

Phylogenomics reveals the evolutionary timing and pattern of butterflies and moths.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 11 21;116(45):22657-22663. Epub 2019 Oct 21.

McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) are one of the major superradiations of insects, comprising nearly 160,000 described extant species. As herbivores, pollinators, and prey, Lepidoptera play a fundamental role in almost every terrestrial ecosystem. Lepidoptera are also indicators of environmental change and serve as models for research on mimicry and genetics. Read More

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November 2019

Carbon speciation in organic fossils using 2D to 3D x-ray Raman multispectral imaging.

Sci Adv 2019 08 30;5(8):eaaw5019. Epub 2019 Aug 30.

IPANEMA, CNRS, ministère de la culture, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Université Paris-Saclay, BP 48 St. Aubin, 91192 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

The in situ two-dimensional (2D) and 3D imaging of the chemical speciation of organic fossils is an unsolved problem in paleontology and cultural heritage. Here, we use x-ray Raman scattering (XRS)-based imaging at the carbon K-edge to form 2D and 3D images of the carbon chemistry in two exceptionally preserved specimens, a fossil plant dating back from the Carboniferous and an ancient insect entrapped in 53-million-year-old amber. The 2D XRS imaging of the plant fossil reveals a homogeneous chemical composition with micrometric "pockets" of preservation, likely inherited from its geological history. Read More

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The Most Extensive Devonian Fossil Forest with Small Lycopsid Trees Bearing the Earliest Stigmarian Roots.

Curr Biol 2019 08 8;29(16):2604-2615.e2. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Science Press, China Science Publishing and Media Ltd., Beijing 100717, China.

Since the Late Paleozoic, forests have become distributed worldwide and significantly changed the Earth's climate and landscapes, but the record of forests is rare in the Devonian (419-359 Ma in age) when they first appeared. From the Upper Devonian (Famennian with the age of 372-359 Ma) of Xinhang, Anhui, China, we report a very large in situ forest, which includes locally dense stands of lycopsid plants. The Xinhang forest is monospecific with a small tree lycopsid Guangdedendron gen. Read More

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Morphology of the megaspore Lagenoisporites magnus (Chi and Hills 1976) Candilier et al. (1982), from the Carboniferous (lower Mississippian: mid-upper Tournaisian) of Bolivia.

An Acad Bras Cienc 2019 Jul 22;91(supp 2):e20180750. Epub 2019 Jul 22.

Laboratorio de Palinoestratigrafía y Paleobotánica, Centro de Investigaciones Científicas y Transferencia de Tecnología a la Producción (CONICET-Entre Ríos-UADER), Matteri y España s/n, E3105BWA Diamante, Entre Ríos, Argentina.

The morphology and structure of megaspores assigned to Lagenoisporites magnus from the Toregua Formation, Retama Group, mid-upper Tournaisian of Bolivia were studied. The analysis was performed with light, fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy. Megaspores were laterally compressed and presented a spherical body with a proximal gula, of the hologula type. Read More

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Impact of the coal mining-contaminated soil on the food safety in Shaanxi, China.

Environ Geochem Health 2019 Jun 2;41(3):1521-1544. Epub 2019 Jan 2.

State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, Beijing, 100083, China.

The study aimed to investigate the impacts of coal mining-contaminated soil on the locally grown food crops and humans health. For the active investigation and assessment, the study collected 175 samples including contaminated and control soil and various types of food crops (corn, wheat, mixed food (egg, pork meat, potato, pepper)) from Shaanxi Province. All these samples were analyzed through ICP-MS and ICP-OES. Read More

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The prospects for constraining productivity through time with the whole-plant physiology of fossils.

New Phytol 2019 07 10;223(1):40-49. Epub 2018 Oct 10.

Plant Sciences, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, 95616, USA.

Anatomically preserved fossils allow estimation of hydraulic parameters, potentially providing constraints on interpreting whole-plant physiology. However, different organ systems have typically been considered in isolation - a problem given common mismatches of high and low conductance components coupled in the hydraulic path of the same plant. A recent paper addressed the issue of how to handle resistance mismatches in fossil plant hydraulics, focusing on Carboniferous medullosan seed plants and arborescent lycopsids. Read More

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Origin of Equisetum: Evolution of horsetails (Equisetales) within the major euphyllophyte clade Sphenopsida.

Am J Bot 2018 08 19;105(8):1286-1303. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

CONICET, Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, Trelew, Chubut, 9100, Argentina.

Premise Of The Study: Equisetum is the sole living representative of Sphenopsida, a clade with impressive species richness, a long fossil history dating back to the Devonian, and obscure relationships with other living pteridophytes. Based on molecular data, the crown group age of Equisetum is mid-Paleogene, although fossils with possible crown synapomorphies appear in the Triassic. The most widely circulated hypothesis states that the lineage of Equisetum derives from calamitaceans, but no comprehensive phylogenetic studies support the claim. Read More

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Evolution of alluvial mudrock forced by early land plants.

Science 2018 03;359(6379):1022-1024

Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EQ, UK.

Mudrocks are a primary archive of Earth's history from the Archean eon to recent times, and their source-to-sink production and deposition play a central role in long-term ocean chemistry and climate regulation. Using original and published stratigraphic data from all 704 of Earth's known alluvial formations from the Archean eon (3.5 billion years ago) to the Carboniferous period (0. Read More

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Diversification of insects since the Devonian: a new approach based on morphological disparity of mouthparts.

Sci Rep 2018 02 23;8(1):3516. Epub 2018 Feb 23.

Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité, ISYEB-UMR 7205-CNRS, MNHN, UPMC, EPHE, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Sorbonne Universités, 57 rue Cuvier, CP 50, Entomologie, F-75005, Paris, France.

The majority of the analyses of the evolutionary history of the megadiverse class Insecta are based on the documented taxonomic palaeobiodiversity. A different approach, poorly investigated, is to focus on morphological disparity, linked to changes in the organisms' functioning. Here we establish a hierarchy of the great geological epochs based on a new method using Wagner parsimony and a 'presence/absence of a morphological type of mouthpart of Hexapoda' dataset. Read More

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February 2018

Arborescent lycophyte growth in the late Carboniferous coal swamps.

New Phytol 2018 05 28;218(3):885-890. Epub 2017 Dec 28.

Department of Natural Sciences, National Museum Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP, UK.

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Ontogenetic variability in old and new collections of Grand'Eury from the late Palaeozoic of Europe.

PhytoKeys 2017 12(88):123-149. Epub 2017 Oct 12.

Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Postbus 9517, 2300 RA, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Grand'Eury is described by means of a morphometric analysis of eighty two samples from various old and new localities in western and central Europe. Stem, leaf cushions, leaf scars, leaves, axillary structures and potential seeds are described in detail, and discussed in comparison to earlier studies. The encountered variability in size and structure is shown to be higher than what was described earlier. Read More

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October 2017

Evolution and ecology of plant architecture: integrating insights from the fossil record, extant morphology, developmental genetics and phylogenies.

Ann Bot 2017 Nov;120(6):855-891

Systematic Botany and Mycology, Department of Biology, University of Munich (LMU), D-80638 Munich, Germany.

Background: In contrast to most animals, plants have an indeterminate body plan, which allows them to add new body parts during their lifetime. A plant's realized modular construction is the result of exogenous constraints and endogenous processes. This review focuses on endogenous processes that shape plant architectures and their evolution. Read More

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November 2017

Leaf anatomy of a late Palaeozoic cycad.

Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)

Forschungsstelle für Paläobotanik, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Heisenbergstrasse 2, 48149 Münster, Germany.

Today, cycads are a small group of gymnospermous plants with a limited distribution in the (sub)tropics, but they were major constituents of Mesozoic floras. Fossil leaves sporadically found in latest Carboniferous and Permian floras have putatively been ascribed to cycads. However, their true affinity remains unclear due to the lack of anatomical evidence. Read More

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November 2017

Dynamic Carboniferous tropical forests: new views of plant function and potential for physiological forcing of climate.

New Phytol 2017 Sep 25;215(4):1333-1353. Epub 2017 Jul 25.

Center for Integrative Geosciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA.

Contents 1333 I. 1334 II. 1335 III. Read More

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September 2017

Did trees grow up to the light, up to the wind, or down to the water? How modern high productivity colors perception of early plant evolution.

New Phytol 2017 Jul 5;215(2):552-557. Epub 2017 Jan 5.

Plant Sciences, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, 95616, USA.

Contents I. II. III. Read More

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Phylogeny of Selaginellaceae: There is value in morphology after all!

Am J Bot 2016 Dec 20;103(12):2136-2159. Epub 2016 Dec 20.

Systematic Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.

Premise Of The Study: The cosmopolitan lycophyte family Selaginellaceae, dating back to the Late Devonian-Early Carboniferous, is notorious for its many species with a seemingly undifferentiated gross morphology. This morphological stasis has for a long time hampered our understanding of the evolutionary history of the single genus Selaginella. Here we present a large-scale phylogenetic analysis of Selaginella, and based on the resulting phylogeny, we discuss morphological evolution in the group. Read More

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December 2016

Fossil record of stem groups employed in evaluating the chronogram of insects (Arthropoda: Hexapoda).

Sci Rep 2016 12 13;6:38939. Epub 2016 Dec 13.

Institute of Entomology, College of Life Sciences, Nankai University, 94 Weijin Road, Nankai District, Tianjin 300071, China.

Insecta s. str. (=Ectognatha), comprise the largest and most diversified group of living organisms, accounting for roughly half of the biodiversity on Earth. Read More

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December 2016

A 4000-species dataset provides new insight into the evolution of ferns.

Mol Phylogenet Evol 2016 12 9;105:200-211. Epub 2016 Sep 9.

Pringle Herbarium, Department of Plant Biology, University of Vermont, 27 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.

Ferns are the second-most diverse lineage of vascular plants on Earth, yet the best-sampled time-calibrated phylogeny of the group to date includes fewer than 5% of global diversity and was published seven years ago. We present a time-calibrated phylogeny that includes nearly half of extant fern diversity. Our results are evaluated in the context of previous studies and the fossil record, and we develop new hypotheses about the radiation of leptosporangiate ferns. Read More

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December 2016

Climate, decay, and the death of the coal forests.

Curr Biol 2016 07;26(13):R563-R567

School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.

After death, most of the biological carbon in organisms (Corg) is returned to the atmosphere as CO2 through the respiration of decomposers and detritivores or by combustion. However, the balance between these processes is not perfect, and when productivity exceeds decomposition, carbon sequestration results. An unparalleled interval of carbon sequestration in Earth's history occurred during the Late Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) and Permian Periods (ca. Read More

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