Martinez-Millan, Marcela .
Reevaluation of the solanaceous affinity of Solanaceae fossils.
Currently the Solanaceae, encompassing a broad spectrum of diverse and economically important species such as tomato, potato, chili pepper, eggplant and tobacco, is one of the most heavily studied plant families. Its fossil record, however, has received relatively little attention. In this study, several fossils assigned to the Solanaceae were revisited in order to ascertain their solanaceous affinity. For this purpose, the type specimens of Solanites brongniartii Sap 1862 from the Early Tertiary of Southern France, S. saportana Berry 1916, S. sarrachaformis Berry 1930, S. pusillus Berry 1930 and S. crassus Berry 1930 from the Eocene of Eastern North America and Cantisolanum daturoides Reid and Chandler 1933 from the Eocene of England were studied. The results indicate that the fossils assigned to Solanites do not represent the same or even related taxa. However, at least one of the fossil species, S. brongniartii, the type for the genus, might represent a member of the Solanaceae as it exhibits many characters typical of the genus Solanum. The affinities of the remaining four species of Solanites lie within other families and should therefore be removed from the genus. Cantisolanum daturoides is only known from the type specimen which is too incomplete to show convincing characters to argue its affinities and should be regarded with suspicion. From these results it can be shown that the presence of Solanaceae in the Early Tertiary of North America or England is not supported. Consequently, any biogeographical hypothesis, evolutionary rate estimate or divergence age estimate based on these assumptions should be revised, especially if these particular fossils were used as calibration points. Solanites brongniartii is the only taxon for which a case of solanaceous affinity can be argued; however it is necessary to place it in phylogenetic context if this conclusion is to be corroborated.
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1 - Cornell University, Department of Plant Biology, 228 Plant Science Building, Ithaca, New York, 14853, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Williford A/Hilton
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2007
Time: 11:15 AM