Abstract

The origin of flowering plants is still a matter of dispute. Several lines of evidence suggest that their origin may go back to the Triassic. This paper reports on pollen grains with angiosperm-like morphologies from marine Middle Triassic sediments of the Boreal Realm (Norwegian Arctic, Barents Sea area). The morphology of these pollen grains is comparable to forms recorded from the Early Cretaceous, which are generally attributed to angiosperms. The new finds of angiosperm-like pollen are the earliest in the fossil record so far and show an astonishing high diversity. In contrast to other early records, they come from high palaeolatitudes with an inferred warm-temperate climate. The new finds suggest the presence of the first angiosperms during the Middle Triassic (242–227 Ma) or, alternatively, provide evidence for an as-yet unknown group of gymnosperms, possibly an extinct sister group of the flowering plants.

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