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Schneider, Harald; Schmidt, Alexander R.; Heinrichs, Jochen (2016): Burmese amber fossils bridge the gap in the Cretaceous record of polypod ferns. In: Perspectives in Plant Ecology Evolution and Systematics, Vol. 18: pp. 70-78
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Abstract

Cretaceous fossils of derived leptosporangiate ferns (Polypodiales) are exceedingly rare yet they are needed to confirm the hypothesis of a Cretaceous diversification of polypod ferns as predicted by DNA based divergence time estimates. Here we show that diverse polypod ferns existed in the mid-Cretaceous woodlands of Myanmar. We describe isolated sporangia with a vertical, broken annulus ring containing a differentiated stomium as well as distinguished pinnae fragments. Krameropteris resinatus gen. et sp. nov. is described based on a pinnae-fragment with free branched veins, exindusiate sori and polypod sporangia with trilete spores, and assigned to the early diverging polypod fern lineage Dennstaedtiaceae. Integration of the new fossil evidence in a phylogenetic framework provides support to the hypothesis of a Cretaceous diversification of polypod ferns. (C) 2016 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.