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Chemical Examinations of Some Non-Vascular Paleozoic Plants

Karl J. Niklas
Brittonia
Vol. 28, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1976), pp. 113-137
Published by: Springer on behalf of the New York Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2805564
Page Count: 25
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Chemical Examinations of Some Non-Vascular Paleozoic Plants
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Abstract

The organic chemical constituents of compression fossils of Nematothallus, Spongiophyton, Orestovia and Eohostimella are identified and compared with those isolated from living and fossil forms of Botryococcus (a green alga) and Taeniocrada (a vascular plant fossil). The range and maxima in the carbon numbers observed in the normal, saturated acids isolated from Nematothallus, Orestovia, and Spongiophyton are similar to those of fossil Botryococcus, while those acids contained within compression fossils of Eohostimella are similar to the hydrocarbon composition fo Taeniocrada. Isoprenoid, branched hidrocarbons and steroids identified from Nematothallus, Orestovia, and Spongiophyton suggest these genera have algal affinities, while the presence of thick cuticles and in some cases cutin-like compounds appea to show adaptation to a terrestrial environment. Phenolic compounds retained within rock matrices associated with Eohostimella are similar to those isolated from Taeniocrada suggesting chemical, as well as morphological parallels with the land plant habit. These data are interpreted as indicating an early polyphyletic explaitation of the terrestrial habitat during the Paleozoic.

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