Reinvestigation of Stauroxylon beckii , a Possible Aneurophytalean Progymnosperm from the Mississippian of France - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles International Journal of Plant Sciences Year : 2024

Reinvestigation of Stauroxylon beckii , a Possible Aneurophytalean Progymnosperm from the Mississippian of France

Abstract

Premise of the Research : The fossil record shows that seed plants appeared during the Devonian and started to become dominant in the Mississippian. However, the identity of their closest relatives remains uncertain with three candidates: Stenokoleales, Archeopteridalean progymnosperms, and Aneurophytalean progymnosperms. To clarify the relationships of these groups, it is necessary to document as many Devonian-Missisippian taxa as possible and increase taxon sampling in phylogenetic analyses. In this context, Stauroxylon beckii Galtier 1970 from Mississippian deposits of France is particularly interesting because of its similarities with both seed plants and some of their potential closest relatives. Here, we provide an updated description of Stauroxylon and discuss its affinities using morpho-anatomical comparisons and phylogenetic analyses. Methodology: The holotype of Stauroxylon beckii and a new specimen from the same formation are described using thin-sections, cellulose acetate peels, and polished surfaces. The morpho-anatomy of the specimens is compared to that of early seed plants and their putative relatives. Stauroxylon is also included in phylogenetic analyses of the Radiotopses based on Toledo et al, 2021’s matrix. Pivotal Results: Stauroxylon beckii possess a cruciform protostele with protoxylem strands at the tips of the ribs, a central protoxylem strand, and produces second and third order axes in perpendicular planes. The new specimen differs by characters interpreted as developmental differences or intraspecific plasticity (organotaxis, secondary growth) and is also assigned to Stauroxylon beckii. Both comparative approaches and phylogenetic analyses place Stauroxylon within the Aneurophytalean progymnosperms, a group previously only known in the Devonian. The inclusion of Stauroxylon strengthens previously established relationships within the radiatopsids. Stauroxylon also displays structural fingerprints important for leaf and pith evolution. Conclusions : Stauroxylon is interpreted as a Mississippian representative of the Aneurophytales. It provides new information on the relationships and morpho-anatomical diversity of early seed plants and their closest relatives.
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Dates and versions

hal-04554406 , version 1 (22-04-2024)

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Thibault Durieux, Anne-Laure Decombeix, Carla J Harper, Jean Galtier. Reinvestigation of Stauroxylon beckii , a Possible Aneurophytalean Progymnosperm from the Mississippian of France. International Journal of Plant Sciences, In press, ⟨10.1086/729412⟩. ⟨hal-04554406⟩
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