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Regalado, Ledis; Schmidt, Alexander R.; Appelhans, Marc S.; Ilsemann, Bork; Schneider, Harald; Krings, Michael; Heinrichs, Jochen (2017): A fossil species of the enigmatic early polypod fern genus Cystodium (Cystodiaceae) in Cretaceous amber from Myanmar. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, 14615
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Abstract

The monospecific fern genus Cystodium (Cystodiaceae;Polypodiales) occurs exclusively in the tropical forests of the Malay Archipelago, the Admiralty Islands, the Louisiade Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands. Divergence time estimates suggest that the genus originated in the Mesozoic;however, fossil evidence to validate this suggestion has been lacking. Amber from Myanmar (Burmese amber) is an important source of new information on the diversity of vascular cryptogams in the Cretaceous. This paper describes the fossil taxon Cystodium sorbifolioides nov. sp. based on a fragment of a fertile leaf preserved in Burmese amber that represents the first fossil evidence of the family Cystodiaceae. Cystodium sorbifolioides is used to obtain a minimum age estimate for the Cystodiaceae and the closely related, monogeneric Lonchitidaceae and Lindsaeaceae. The fossil strengthens the hypothesis that the forest ecosystems of Malesia and Melanesia represent refugia for many tropical plant lineages that originated in the Cretaceous.