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The Early Cretaceous Aroid, Spixiarum kipea gen. et sp. nov., and implications on early dispersal and ecology of basal monocots

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Morphology and anatomy of a fossil monocotyledon from the late Early Cretaceous and extant monocots are compared. Anatomy was examined based on publications, while leaf morphology, especially the venation, required new observations on fresh and herbarium material. Spixiarum kipea gen. et sp. nov. belongs most likely to Araceae, and may be sister to Orontioideae or is even part of this tribe. Consequently, proto-Araceae were most likely present during the Early Cretaceous in South America. The occurrence of Spixiarum in South America indicates a north Gondwana origin for Orontioideae and and thus may indicate a Gondwanan origin for proto-Araceae. Sedimentological and taphonomic context indicate that Spixiarum had probably a helophytic ecology similar to living Orontioideae and formed possibly the aquatic vegetation of the Crato Lake in association with the Nymphaeales Pluricarpellatia peltata and Jaguariba wiersemana. Early Cretaceous monocotyledon remains have been rarely recorded. It is debatable if their scarceness is a sign of low diversity or may be due to taphonomic/ecologic reasons.
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Keywords: ARACEAE; EARLY CRETACEOUS; LEAF VENATION; MONOCOTS; ORONTIOIDEAE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Museum of Natural History, Department of Collections, Berlin, Invalidenstr. 43, 10115 Berlin, Germany;, Email: [email protected] 2: Museum of Natural History, Department of Collections, Berlin, Invalidenstr. 43, 10115 Berlin, Germany 3: CEPPE-Post-Graduation and Research Centre of the University of Guarulhos, Praça Theresa Cristina 1, 07023-070 Guarulhos (SP) Brazil and Institute of Geosciences, University of São Paulo, Rua do Lago 562, Cidade Universitaria, 05508-080 São Paulo, Brazil

Publication date: 2013-10-22

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