The delayed rise of flowering plants
Presented by Dr Hervé Sauquet
Senior Research Scientist, The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney
The rise of angiosperms was a major revolution in Earth’s history, yet many aspects of their diversification remain unresolved. Extant and fossil data are both critical to understand angiosperm macroevolution and intersect particularly in calibration of molecular dating analyses and in phylogenetic assessments of fossil taxa, but this integration remains often limited and both sources of data are typically under-utilized. Here, Dr Hervé Sauquet presents results from a new molecular dating study of angiosperms as a whole, calibrated with the most comprehensive set of fossil age constraints to date (238 calibrations).
They found substantial time lags (37-56 Myr) between the origin of families (stem age) and the diversification leading to extant species (crown ages), raising new questions about the tempo of angiosperm diversification. Dr Sauquet will then introduce the first results from ongoing work aiming at including 100 fossil flowers as tips in angiosperm phylogenetic analyses by recording their traits in their expanding eFLOWER dataset.