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The Earliest Remains of Grasses in the Fossil Record
William L. Crepet and Gwen D. Feldman
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 78, No. 7 (Jul., 1991), pp. 1010-1014
Published by: Botanical Society of America, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445181
Page Count: 5
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New fossils provide the earliest unequivocal evidence of grasses. Spikelets and inflorescence fragments with included pollen from the Paleocene/Eocene Wilcox Formation in western Tennessee have a suite of diagnostic characters that limits their affinities to Poaceae. Associated vegetative remains are also suggestive of grasses, but are not well enough preserved for an unequivocal identification. These fossils indicate a minimal time of origin for the family, are consistent with an Upper Cretaceous origin of Poaceae, and suggest that as in wind-pollinated Hamamelididae, wind pollination evolved in grasses or persisted in the grass lineage (if a wind-pollinated grass sister group is presumed) in dry tropical environments.
American Journal of Botany © 1991 Botanical Society of America, Inc.