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Crato Formation, Enigmatic Plant


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this is a plant (probably angiosperm or gnethophyte) from the Crato Formation (Nova Olinda Member; Ceara). Latest Aptian/early albian.

Scale (match) = 45 mm.

Any suggestions for ID?








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Perhaps it is a non-arborescent lycopodium? LINK

"There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about." - Ashleigh Ellwood Brilliant

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  • 3 months later...

Here are some new pictures of the specimen I took under different conditions of lightning.

The plant shows similarities to the ephedroid taxon "C" mentioned in the classic textbook about the Crato Fossil Beds (Martill DM et al. 2007, The Crato Fossil Beds of Brazil), text page 565 and Figure 19.7a, but I think there are some differences compared to the specimen depicted in their Fig. 19.7a. (with regard to the branching pattern and the proportions of the hairy leaves and terminal leaf-bearing nodes).

However, I agree that both specimens (the one from MARTILL et al. and the one I show here) show some similarities compared to Liaoxia from the Barremian of China (Yixian Formation), especially Liaxoia chenii (Ephedrites chenii).

The longitudinal striations of the stems (a typical feature of L. chenii) are clearly visible in my specimen. On the other hand, the leaves (at least those from the terminal nodes) of my specimen and the specimen depicted in the book mentioned above are much shorter.

Here is a link to Liaoxia from China:

So I think I label my specimen "Gnetales, cf. ephedroid taxon C from Crato-Formation, cf. Liaoxia sp.")

However, the classic book from MARTILL et al. is now six years old; maybe someone has more recent informations or links about/to the Crato flora.






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I would recommend contacting one of the authors of Martill et al. and lead specialist on the Crato plants; Barbara Mohr. I have corresponded with her in the past and she was very accommodating with information and papers. Seeing this one again I'm also curious to know the details on it. Good luck!


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Beautiful specimen. :envy:

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