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New plants from the Lower Devonian Pingyipu Group, Jiangyou County, Sichuan Province, China

Edwards, Dianne, Geng, Bao-Yin and Li, Cheng-Sen 2016. New plants from the Lower Devonian Pingyipu Group, Jiangyou County, Sichuan Province, China. Plos One 11 (11) , e0163549. 10.1371/journal.pone.0163549

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Descriptions of Lower Devonian plants from Yunnan, South China, have revolutionized concepts of diversity and disparity in tracheophytes soon after they became established on land. Sichuan assemblages have received little attention since their discovery almost 25 years ago and require revision. With this objective, fieldwork involving detailed logging and collection of fossils was undertaken in the Longmenshan Mountain Region, Jiangyou County and yielded the two new taxa described here. They are preserved as coalified compressions and impressions that allowed morphological but not anatomical analyses. Yanmenia (Zosterophyllum) longa comb nov is based on numerous rarely branching shoots with enations resembling lycophyte microphylls, without evidence for vasculature. The presence of sporangia is equivocal making assignation to the Lycopsida conjectural. The plant was recently described as a zosterophyll, but lacks strobili. These are present in the second plant and comprise bivalved sporangia. The strobili terminate aerial stems which arise from a basal axial complex displaying diversity in branching including H- and K- forms. These features characterise the Zosterophyllopsida, although the plant differs from Zosterophyllum in valve shape. Comparisons indicate greatest similarities to the Lower Devonian Guangnania cuneata, from Yunnan, but differences, particularly in the nature of the sporangium border, require the erection of a new species, G. minor. Superficial examination of specimens already published indicate a high degree of endemism at both species and generic level, while this study shows that Yanmenia is confined to Sichuan and Guangnania is one of the very few genera shared with Yunnan, where assemblages also show a high proportion of further endemic genera. Such provincialism noted in the Chinese Lower Devonian is explained by the palaeogeographic isolation of the South China plate, but this cannot account for differences/endemism between the Sichuan and Yunnan floras. Such an enigma demands further integrated geological, palaeobotanical and palynological studies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Funders: Chinese Academy of Science
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 November 2016
Date of Acceptance: 3 September 2016
Last Modified: 13 May 2019 14:50

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