New insights into the heterosporous lycopsid Changxingia from the Upper Devonian Wutong Formation of Zhejiang Province, China
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A heterosporous lycopsid plant is described from the Upper Devonian (Famennian) Wutong Formation, Changxing County, northern Zhejiang Province, China. The plant is known for its terminal and many detached megasporangiate strobili, most of which do not have sporophylls preserved. Some megasporangiate strobili are closely associated with a vegetative axis bearing leaf cushions and with a mass of microspores. Because of the monosporangiate strobili, the present lycopsid belongs to the Dichostrobiles of the Isoёtales sensu lato. This lycopsid conforms to Changxingia in the vegetative leaves, leaf cushions (including leaf scar and ligule pit), some parts of the megasporophyll (pedicel, heel and lamina), the megasporangium and the megaspores, although the branching pattern of axes, the arrangement and other parts of megasporophyll are still unknown. The fossils are described as Changxingia sp., and this genus is expanded with character of microspore. Hence, the previous and present data indicate that the earliest lycopsids with monosporangiate strobili from the Upper Devonian of China are consistent in Lagenicula megaspores with gula and Lycospora microspores with equatorial cingulum. In contrast, the Carboniferous lycopsids with monosporangiate strobili in Euramerica and Cathaysia show great diversification of both megaspores and microspores.
KeywordsChangxingia Isoёtales sensu lato Late Devonian Lycopsids Monosporangiate strobili Wutong Formation
The authors are grateful to D. L. Qi (Anhui Geological Survey, Hefei) and T. Liu (Peking University) for their help with the field work and would like to thank J. Z. Xue (Peking University) and H. Kerp (University of Münster) for important discussions and improvements. This work is supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2012CB821900) of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. Formal consent is not required for this type of study.
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