Cretaceous fossil relative of Ginkgo discovered
Results of the research, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), are published in this week’s issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
"The stems and leaves are similar to the Ginkgo tree, but the seeds, and especially the structures they are born in, are unlike any other known plant, living or extinct," says scientist Patrick Herendeen of the Chicago Botanic Garden, co-author of the PNAS paper.
The seed-bearing structures are more comparable to those of certain extinct Peltaspermales and Umkomasiales.
Ginkgo may be the last survivor of a once highly diverse group of extinct plants, several of which show various degrees of ovule enclosure.
PNAS + supporting info
Chicago Botanic Garden + more photos