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Am J Bot. 1998 Mar;85(3):376.

Tylerianthus crossmanensis gen. et sp. nov. (aff. Hydrangeaceae) from the Upper Cretaceous of New Jersey.


A fossil flower with affinities to the modern families of the saxifragalean complex is described. Fossils were collected at Old Crossman Pit, Raritan Formation, New Jersey, USA. These sediments are dated on the basis of palynology as Turonian (Upper Cretaceous, ~90 million years before present). Fossils are charcoalified and preserved with exceptional three- dimensional detail. The characters observed in these flowers, when compared with those of extant flowers of several families of the saxifragalean complex, suggest a close relationship with extant members of the Saxifragaceae and Hydrangeaceae. Hypotheses on the origin of petals and staminodes and a possible mechanism of pollination are discussed. This new taxon provides additional characters in the floral morphology of the fossil saxifragoids and extends their geographical distribution in the Cretaceous to North America.

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