This is a guest post by Dan Peppe. He is an Assistant Professor in the Geology Department at Baylor University. His research interests are focused on reconstructing ancient climates and ecosystems in North America and East Africa and on developing new and improved palaeoclimate and palaeoecological proxies using methods in paleobotany, sedimentary geology, and paleomagnetism. More information about Dan and his research can be found on his website: www.danielpeppe.com. He also tweets about his research and other interests on his Twitter account (@danpeppe).
Over the last couple of weeks several blogs and news outlet have reported that a new study published in Frontiers in Plant Science (Hochuli and Feist-Burkhardt, 2013) shows that new fossil pollen push back the origin of flowering plants (angiosperms) by 100 million years to the early Triassic (e.g., LiveScience, BBC, ScienceDaily). The headlines and articles lead a reader to assume that there was new evidence showing that angiosperms were present in the Triassic (252-201 million years ago, Ma). However, the new study actually suggests something quite different that adds to a growing body of evidence pertaining to a larger narrative about the evolution of plants and the evolution of angiosperms.