Axsmith, Brian , Zan, Shuqin , Escapa, Ignacio , Fraser, Nicholas .
A new Neocalamites (Sphenophyta) with prickles and attached cones from the Upper Triassic of China.
Remains of the extinct sphenophyte (horsetail) Neocalamites are most widespread in the Late Triassic and are typically represented by stem and leaf fragments. Here we report on spectacular finds of a new Neocalamites species from the Yangcaougou Formation in Liaoning Province, China. These fossils occur on bedding surfaces dominated by nearly complete aerial stems with attached leaf whorls and occasional bractless cones. They reveal a monopodial growth habit for the stems, which are covered with downward projecting prickles that probably provided protection against herbivores. Monopodial stems were apparently rare in Neocalamites, and prickles - or any other form of armament - have never before been reported in extinct or living sphenophytes. The nodes bear whorls of extraordinarily long leaves mainly free to their bases. The leaves of adjacent stems mostly likely interlocked to support growth in large stands akin to the role now played by branches in large modern Equisetum species. The new Chinese Neocalamites is among the most confidently reconstructed example, and indicates a greater diversity of sphenophyte morphology during the Mesozoic than previously realized.
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1 - University Of South Alabama, Biology Department, 5871 USA Drive North, Room 124, MOBILE, AL, 36688-0002, USA
2 - The Geological Museum of China, Beijing, 100034, PR China
3 - MEF-CONICET, Fontana 140, Trelew Chubut, N/A, 9100, Argentina
4 - National Museums Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF, Scotland
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Union A/Hyatt
Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Time: 2:15 PM