Skip to main content

The discovery of whole-plant fossil cycad from the Upper Triassic in western Liaoning and its significance

Abstract

A recently discovered megafossil of whole plant cycad is briefly reported here. The specimen is collected from the Yangcaogou Formation (Upper Triassic) in Changheying, Beipiao, Liaoning. The whole plant is preserved intact on a sandstone slab, 89 cm long and 130 cm wide, including leaves up to 82 cm long and a male cone physically attached to the stem apex. Analysis on the morphology, arrangement and venation of leaf and pinna, male cone and its relationship with other parts indicates that the fossil is closely related to living Zamiaceae in Cycadales. This cycad fossil is hitherto most completely preserved cycad specimen including both vegetative and reproductive organs. Its discovery contributes much to our understanding of the morphology and evolution of cycads, palaeoclimate as well as palaeoenvironment.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1

    Mamay S H. Cycads: fossil evidence of late Paleozoic origin. Science 1969. 164: 295–296

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Zhu J N, Du X M. A new cycad—Primocycas chinensis gen. et sp. nov. discovered from the Lower Permian in Shanxi, China and its significance. Acta Bot Sin, 1981, 23:401–404

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Thomas H H, Harris T M. Cycadean cones of the Yorkshire Jurassic. Senckenberg Leth, 1960, 41:139–161

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Harris T M. Caytoniales, Cycadales & Pteridosperms. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History), 1964, 191

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Wang Z Q. Liulinia lacinulata, a new male cone of cycads from latest Permian in Shanxi. Acta Palaeont Sin, 1986, 25:610–616

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Dower B L, Bateman R M, Stevenson D W. Systematics, ontogeny, and phylogenetic implications for exceptional anatomical preserved cycadophyte leaves from the middle Jurassic of Bearreraig Bay, Skye, Northwest Scotland. Bot Rev, 2004, 70:105–120

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Wang Y D, Zhang W, Zheng S L, et al. New discovery of fossil cycad-like plants from the Middle Jurassic of west Liaoning, China. Chinese Sci Bull, 2005, 50:1804–1807

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Wang Y D, Li N, Cui J Z, et al. New discovery of fossil cycad-like plants from the Middle Jurassic of west Liaoning, China. Chinese Sci Bull, 2005, 50:1804–1807

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Hill K D, Stevenson D W, Osborne R. The world list of cycads. Bot Rev, 2004, 70:274–298

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Zhang W, Wang Y D, Saiki K, et al. A structurally preserved cycad-like stem, Lioxylon liaoningense gen et sp. nov., from the Middle Jurassic in western Liaoning, China. Prog Nat Sci, 2006, 16:236–248

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Liu S W. Conchostracan fossils from the Yangcaogou Formation in western Liaoning and their age significance. Geol Rev, 1987, 33:115–121

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Zhou H Q. Discovery of the Upper Triassic flora from Yangcaogou of Beipiao, Liaoning. ed. Palaeontological Society of China. In: Selected Papers from the 12th Annual Conference of the Palaeontological Society of China. Beijing: Science Press, 1981. 147–152

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Liu X Q, Li C S, Wang Y F. Plants of Leptostrobus Heer (Czekanowkiales) from the Early Cretaceous and Late Triassic of China, with discussion of the genus. J Integr Plant Biol, 2006, 48: 137–147

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Zan S, Axsmith B J, Fraser N C, et al. New evidence for laurasian corystosperms: Umkomasia from the Upper Triassic of Northern China. Rev Palaeobot Palyn, 2008, 149:202–207

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Florin R. Studien über die Cycadales des Mesozoikums nebst Erorterungen über die Spaltöffnungsapparate der Bennettitales. Kungl Svenska Vetenskapsakad Handl, 1933, 12: 1–134

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Harris T M. The fossil cycads. Palaeont, 1961, 4: 313–323

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Delevoryas T, Hope R C. More evidence for a slender growth habit in Mesozoic cycadophytes. Rev Palaeobot Palynol, 1976, 21:93–100

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Delevoryas T. Perspectives on the origin of cycads and cycadeoids. Rev Palaeobot Palyn, 1982, 37:115–132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Rothwell G W, Crepet W L, Stockey R A. Is the anthophyte hypothesis alive and well? New evidence from the reproductive structures of Bennettitales. Am J Bot, 2009, 96:296–322

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xin Wang.

Additional information

Supported by the National Natursl Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 40772006, 40372008, 40632010 and J0630967), Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. KZCX2-YW-154) and National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2006CB701401). This is a contribution to IGCP 506.

About this article

Cite this article

Wang, X., Li, N., Wang, Y. et al. The discovery of whole-plant fossil cycad from the Upper Triassic in western Liaoning and its significance. Chin. Sci. Bull. 54, 3116–3119 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11434-009-0384-z

Download citation

Keywords

  • cycad fossil
  • Zamiaceae
  • whole plant
  • Late Triassic
  • western Liaoning