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GYMNOSPERM FOSSILS FROM THE GANGAPUR FORMATION (EARLY CRETACEOUS) OF ADILABAD DISTRICT Gymnosperm fossils from the Gangapur Formation (Early Cretaceous) of Adilabad District, Telangana, India

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Abstract

Chinnappa C., Rajanikanth A. & Rao Y. V. 2014. Gymnosperm fossils from the Gangapur Formation (Early Cretaceous) of Adilabad District, Telangana, India. Geophytology 44(2): 91-104. The present paper deals with the diversity of gymnosperms during the sedimentation of Gangapur Formation (Early Cretaceous) in Pranhita-Godavari Graben and their palaeoenvironmental importance. Plant fossils were collected from Ralpet, Nowgaon and Rampur localities, near Sirpur-Kaghaznagar town, and also from Butarmal Nala near Asifabad in Adilabad District, Telangana. A new species of Elatocladus (E. andhrensis) is also described. The fl oral diversity and palaeoenvironment of the Gangapur Formation is discussed on the basis of macro-and micro-plant fossil evidences drawn from the present study and also from earlier studies. Dominance of conifers in the fl oral assemblage indicates prevalence of upland fl ora with warm and humid conditions during the time of deposition of Gangapur Formation.
GYMNOSPERM FOSSILS FROM THE GANGAPUR FORMATION (EARLY CRETACEOUS) OF ADILABAD DISTRICT, TELANGANA 91
ISSN 0376-5561
Geophytology 44(2): 91-104
November 2014
© The Palaeobotanical Society, Lucknow, India
Gymnosperm fossils from the Gangapur Formation
(Early Cretaceous) of Adilabad District, Telangana, India
C. Chinnappa1*, A. Rajanikanth1 and Y. V. Rao2
1Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, 53 University Road, Lucknow-226007, India
2Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam-530003, India
E-mail: chinnabsip@gmail.com; rajanikanth.annamraju@gmail.com;
raovyechuri@yahoo.co.in
*Corresponding author
Manuscript received: 07 February 2014
Accepted for publication: 30 August 2014
ABSTRACT
Chinnappa C., Rajanikanth A. & Rao Y. V. 2014. Gymnosperm fossils from the Gangapur Formation (Early
Cretaceous) of Adilabad District, Telangana, India. Geophytology 44(2): 91-104.
The present paper deals with the diversity of gymnosperms during the sedimentation of Gangapur Formation
(Early Cretaceous) in Pranhita-Godavari Graben and their palaeoenvironmental importance. Plant fossils were
collected from Ralpet, Nowgaon and Rampur localities, near Sirpur-Kaghaznagar town, and also from Butarmal
Nala near Asifabad in Adilabad District, Telangana. A new species of Elatocladus (E. andhrensis) is also described.
The fl oral diversity and palaeoenvironment of the Gangapur Formation is discussed on the basis of macro- and
micro- plant fossil evidences drawn from the present study and also from earlier studies. Dominance of conifers
in the fl oral assemblage indicates prevalence of upland fl ora with warm and humid conditions during the time of
deposition of Gangapur Formation.
Key-words: Gymnosperm fossils, conifers, palaeoenvironment, Gangapur Formation, Early Cretaceous,
Pranhita-Godavari Graben, Telangana, India.
INTRODUCTION
King (1881) described outcrops, exposed
around the Gangapur village, as “Gangapur beds”
as the lower part of Kota Group. The Gangapur
Formation was instituted by Kutty (1969), who
identifi ed the type section, and was named after
the village Gangapur (Lat. 19°16’N; Long.
79°26’E) in Adilabad district, Telangana, India.
He also identifi ed the lower contact of Gangapur
Formation with underlying beds at two places,
one in a stream section about 1.6 km to the west
of Paikasigudem and other in the Gangapur cliff.
This formation extends from north of Nowgaon
(Lat. 19°20’N; Long. 79°24’E) to the west of
Gangapur (Lat. 19°16’N; Long. 79°26’E) and
in the east up to Dharmaram and Paikasigudem
(Kutty 1969). Subsequently, the geology of the
Gangapur Formation, along with other formations
in the Pranhita-Godavari Graben, has been
studied by Sen Gupta (1970, 2003), Rudra (1982),
Bandyopadhyay and Rudra (1985), Raiverman
(1986), Kutty et al. (1987), Lakshminarayana
and Murthi (1990), Biswas et al. (1994),
Lakshminarayana (1995, 1996, 2002) and Biswas
(2003).
The sedimentation of the Gangapur Formation
92 GEOPHYTOLOGY
took place during the Early Cretaceous after
renewed rift activity (Biswas 2003). The
formation is characterized by coarse ferruginous
sandstone with many pebble bands succeeded
by an alternating sequence of sandstones and
mudstones or silty mudstone. It unconformably
overlies the Kota Formation which includes
limestone, sandstone, siltstone, claystone and
conglomerates. Although both the Gangapur and
Chikiala formations are known to overlie the
Kota Formation, the relationship between the
Gangapur and Chikiala formations is not clear.
There are neither fl oral nor faunal fossil evidences
from the Chikiala Formation, while the Gangapur
Formation yielded well preserved Early Cretaceous
ora. Currently, two opinions exist on the relation
of these formations; while some workers believe
that the Chikiala Formation is younger than the
Gangapur Formation (Raiverman et al. 1985,
Lakshminarayana 1996), the others believe that
they are of same age, i.e. Early Cretaceous (Rudra
1982, Kutty et al. 1987). The authors agree with
the second opinion as no distinct fossils were
known from the Chikiala Formation. These Upper
Gondwana sequences are covered by the Deccan
Traps. The generalized stratigraphic sequence of
Pranhita-Godavari Graben is given in Table 1.
Plant megafossils from the Gangapur
Formation have been studied by Bose et al.
(1982), Ramakrishna and Muralidhara Rao
(1986, 1991), Muralidhara Rao and Ramakrishna
(1988), Lakshminarayana and Kutumba Rao
(1988), Sukh-Dev and Rajanikanth (1988) and
Rajanikanth (1996). Palynological studies from
the Gangapur sediments have been carried out
by Rajeshwar Rao and Ramanujam (1979),
Ramanujam and Rajeshwar Rao (1979, 1980),
Bose et al. (1982), Rajeshwar Rao et al. (1983),
Prabhakar (1987), Ramakrishna and Ramanujam
(1987) and Ramakrishna et al. (1985, 1986). The
present paper describes gymnosperm megafossils
and evaluates their diversity and ecology.
MATERIAL AND METHOD
Plant fossils were collected from the ongoing
quarries located at Nowgaon (Lat. 19º18’N; Long.
79°23’E), Ralpet (Lat. 19°18’N; Long. 79°25’E)
and Rampur (Lat. 19°19’N; Long. 79°22’E),
about 7 km south of Sirpur-Kaghaznagar (Lat.
19°21’N; Long. 79°28’E), Adilabad District,
Telangana. The exposed quarry sections are
about 10-12 metres thick and are characterized by
coarse ferruginous sandstone with many pebble
bands succeeded by an alternating sequence of
sandstones and mudstones or silty mudstone.
Fossil plant specimens were also collected from
the mudstone sequences exposed on the banks of
Peddavagu (Lat. 19°21’N; Long. 79°25’E) situated
about 10 km south-east of Asifabad and Butarmal
Nala (Lat. 19°27’N; Long. 79°13’E) about 13 km
west-northwest of Asifabad (Lat. 19°21’N; Long.
79°17’E) in Adilabad District, Telangana (Text-
gure 1). The fossil plant material is preserved as
impressions on pinkish-gray mudstones. Despite
Table 1. Upper Gondwana stratigraphic succession in Pranhita-Godavari Graben (modifi ed after Kutty et al. 1987, Lakshminarayana
1996 and Sen Gupta 2003).
Formation Lithology Age
Deccan Traps
Gangapur/Chikiala Coarse ferruginous sandstone, grey-white-pinkish mudstone and silty mudstone/shale Early Cretaceous
--------------------------------------------------------------------------Unconformity--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kota Upper: Sandstone, siltstone and claystone
Middle: Limestone
Lower: Conglomeratic sandstone, siltstone and trough cross stratifi ed sandstone
?Jurassic
Dharmaram Coarse sandstone and red clays Late late Triassic
Maleri Red clays, fi ne-medium sandstone and lime pellet rocks Early late Triassic
Bhimaram Ferruginous/calcareous sandstone, minor red clays Late middle Triassic
Yerrapalli Red and violet clays with sandstone and lime pellet rocks Early middle Triassic
GYMNOSPERM FOSSILS FROM THE GANGAPUR FORMATION (EARLY CRETACEOUS) OF ADILABAD DISTRICT, TELANGANA 93
the preservation limitation, most morphological
details are still preserved, including venation
pattern, in maximum number of specimens. Plant
fossils were studied under an Olympus SZH
10 stereo dissecting microscope. All specimens
were photographed with Canon SX 150 IS digital
camera using either polarized light or low angle
lighting to reveal surface details.
Comparison was made with Indian Early
Cretaceous oras reported by Feistmantel
(1879), Sahni (1928), Baksi (1968), Bose and
Kasat (1972), Bose and Sukh-Dev (1972),
Maheshwari and Kumaran (1976), Bose and
Banerji (1981, 1984), Bose et al. (1982), Sukh-
Dev and Rajanikanth (1988) and also with type
material available in the repository of the Birbal
Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow. The
ora was also compared with species known
from Antarctica (Halle 1913, Cantrill & Hunter
2005). The specimens here described are lodged
in the museum of the Birbal Sahni Institute of
Palaeobotany, Lucknow.
SYSTEMATIC PALAEOBOTANY
Division: Spermatophyta
Order: Cycadales
Genus: Taeniopteris Brongniart 1828
Taeniopteris kutchensis Bose & Banerji 1984
Plate 1, fi gure 5
Description: Leaf simple, strap shaped,
maximum available size 4 cm long and about 1 cm
wide, lamina thin, margin entire. Midrib prominent,
0.75-1 mm wide, longitudinally striated. Secondary
veins arising at an angle of 80°-90°, mostly simple,
rarely once forked soon after emergence from
midrib, slightly curving upward and then running
parallel up to the margins. Density of secondary
veins per cm of leaf area less than 16.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40219-40221.
Localities: Ralpet, Rampur and Peddavagu
(near Anksapur), Adilabad District, Telangana.
Remarks: The species is reported for the
rst time from the Gangapur Formation and so
far it was known only from the Bhuj Formation
of Kutch (Bose & Banerji 1984). Although
specimens are fragmentary and only central region
of the leaf is recovered, the nature of venation
pattern supports assignment of the specimens to
this species. In gross morphology, specimens may
look like T. spatulata, however, they can be easily
Text-fi gure 1. Map showing the fossil localities
94 GEOPHYTOLOGY
distinguished from the later by the absence of
frequent bifurcation of secondary veins and their
less density.
Taeniopteris spatulata McClelland 1850
Plate 1, fi gures 6, 9
Description: Leaf simple, linear-spatulate,
1.5-2.5 cm long and 0.5-0.8 cm wide, margin
entire, base and apex not known. Midrib distinct,
1 mm wide, faintly striated along longitudinal
direction. Secondary veins arising at an angle of
80°-95°, simple or once forked, majority are once
forked near the midrib and running to the leaf
margins. Density of secondary veins per cm of leaf
area 20-22.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40222-40225.
Localities: Rampur, Butarmal Nala and
Peddavagu (near Anksapur), Adilabad District,
Telangana.
Remarks: The specimens are incomplete.
Among the four specimens, two are preserved with
sub-apical portion (BSIP 40222, 40223), one with
apical portion (BSIP 40225) and the other (BSIP
4024) with central region of the leaf. Although
they represent various parts of the leaf, their
venation pattern strongly indicates same affi nity.
The venation pattern of the specimens resembles T.
spatulata from the Rajmahal Formation described
by Bose and Banerji (1981).
Taeniopteris sp.
Plate 1, fi gures 7, 8
Description: Leaf simple, linear, 2-3 cm long
and 4-5 mm wide, margin entire, base and apex
not known. Midrib prominent, 1-2 mm wide.
Secondary veins arising at an angle of 100°-110°,
mostly simple, sometimes dichotomizing soon
after the emergence and extending to the margins.
Density of the secondary veins per cm leaf area
more than 20.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40226-40228.
Localities: Rampur, Nowgaon and Peddavagu
(near Anksapur), Adilabad District, Telangana.
Remarks: The maximum range of the
secondary vein divergence in all the known
species of Taeniopteris is 80°-90° and they run
either horizontal to the midrib or towards the
apical region. However, in the present specimens
the secondary vein divergence angle ranges from
100°-110° and it runs towards the base. The
specimens therefore could not be assigned to any
known species due to lack of more details. The
secondary vein divergence angle of Taeniopteris
sp., here described, resembles Taeniopteris sp.
from Latady Basin, Antarctica (Cantrill & Hunter
2005).
Order: Bennettitales
Genus: Ptilophyllum Morris in Grant 1840
Ptilophyllum cutchense Morris in Grant 1840
Plate 1, fi gure 1
Description: Pinnate leaf, 5 cm long and 1
cm wide, lamina linear-lanceolate, rachis 1 mm
wide, longitudinally striated and concealed by
pinnae base. Pinnae attached on the upper surface
of the rachis by whole base, arising at an angle of
60°-70°, linear-lanceolate, 4-6 mm long 1-2 mm
wide, margin entire, apex obtuse-bluntly acute.
Veins arise from base of the pinnae, 4-5 in number,
parallel and mostly unforked or rarely once forked.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40229-40232.
Localities: Rampur and Nowgaon, Adilabad
Plate 1
Bar = 1 cm (unless otherwise mentioned)
1. Ptilophyllum cutchense, BSIP specimen no. 40229. 2. Ptilophyllum rarinervis, B SIP specimen no. 40236. 3. Ptilophyllum cf. P. distans, BSIP specimen
no. 40237. 4. Ptilophyllum acutifolium, B SIP specimen no. 40235. 5. Taeniopteris kutchensis, BSIP specimen no. 40221. 6. Taeniopteris spatulata, BSIP
specimen no. 40222. 7. Taeniopteris sp., BSIP specimen no.40226. 8. Taeniopteris sp., BSIP specimen no.40227. 9. Taeniopteris spatulata, BSIP specimen
no. 40224.
GYMNOSPERM FOSSILS FROM THE GANGAPUR FORMATION (EARLY CRETACEOUS) OF ADILABAD DISTRICT, TELANGANA 95
Plate 1
96 GEOPHYTOLOGY
District, Telangana.
Remarks: Early reports of P. cutchense
from the Gangapur Formation were by Bose et
al. (1982) and Sukh-Dev and Rajanikanth (1988).
The specimens described by Sukh-Dev and
Rajanikanth (1988) have comparatively longer
pinnae (4-15 mm), while the specimens described
by Bose et al. (1982) come closer to the present
specimen.
Ptilophyllum acutifolium Morris in Grant 1840
Plate 1, fi gure 4
Description: Pinnate leaf, 1-1.5 cm long and
1 cm wide, lamina linear-lanceolate, rachis 1 mm
wide, longitudinally striated and concealed by
pinnae base. Pinnae attached on the upper surface
of the rachis by whole base, arising at an angle of
50°-70°, alternate-subopposite, linear-lanceolate,
straight, 5-6 mm long and 1 mm wide, margin
entire, acroscopic margin slightly round and
basiscopic margin slightly decurrent or expanded,
apex acute. Veins arising from base of the pinnae,
3-5 in number, parallel, forked or unforked.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40233-40235.
Localities: Rampur and Peddavagu (near
Anksapur), Adilabad District, Telangana.
Remarks: On the basis of decurrent basiscopic
margin and characteristic venation, the presently
studied material is treated under the genus
Ptilophyllum. The acute apex clearly indicates their
affi nity to P. acutifolium. The venation pattern
is reasonably well preserved. The specimens
described by Bose et al. (1982) and Sukh-Dev and
Rajanikanth (1988) from the Gangapur Formation
slightly differ from the present specimens in having
longer pinnae (3-15 mm). The species shows
an apparent resemblance with the specimens of
P. acutifolium from Raghavapuram Formation
described by Baksi (1968).
Ptilophyllum rarinervis (Feistmantel) Bose &
Kasat 1972
Plate 1, fi gure 2
Description: Pinnate leaf, 5 cm long and
1 cm wide, lamina linear-lanceolate, tapering
towards apex, rachis slender, less than 1 mm wide,
concealed by pinnae base. Pinnae attached on the
upper surface of the rachis by whole base, pinnae
bases of opposite sides touching each other, arising
at an angle of 55°-60°, alternate-subopposite,
falcate, linear-lanceolate, 4-6 mm long and less
than 1 mm wide, margin entire, acroscopic margin
slightly round, basiscopic margin straight, apex
bluntly acute. Veins arise from base of the pinnae,
2-3 in number, three veins are common, parallel
and once or twice forked.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen No.
40236.
Localities: Butarmal Nala, Adilabad District,
Telangana.
Remarks: This species, being reported for
the rst time from the Gangapur Formation, is a
rare species. The species was, for the rst time,
identifi ed by Feistmantel (1879) under Otozamites
rarinervis. Later, Bose and Kasat (1972) transferred
it to Ptilophyllum. This species is distinguished
from all other species of Ptilophyllum by few veins,
i.e. 2-3 per pinnae. So far only four specimens
have been collected, one each from Vemavaram
and Onthea and two from Raghavapuram (Bose
& Kasat 1972, Mahabale & Satyanarayana 1979).
Recently, Chinnappa et al. (2014) added two
more specimens from Vemavaram. The present
specimen exactly resembles with the specimens
described by Bose and Kasat (1972).
Plate 2
Bar = 1 cm (unless otherwise mentioned)
1. Elatocladus sehoraensis, BSIP specimen no. 40207. 2. Elatocladus confertus , B SIP specimen no. 40199. 3. Elatocladus cf. E. bosei, BSIP specimen
no. 40211. 4. Strobili of Elatocladus andhrensis sp. nov., BSIP specimen no. 40214. 5. Elatocladus andhrensis sp. nov., BSIP specimen no. 40214. 6.
Pagiophyllum rewaensis, BSIP specimen no. 40242. 7. Elatocladus andhrensis sp. nov., BSIP specimen no.40121. 8. Elatocladus andhrensis sp. nov.,
portion enlarged to show foliage nature, BSIP specimen no.40121. 9. Pagiophyllum marwarensis BSIP specimen no.40240.
GYMNOSPERM FOSSILS FROM THE GANGAPUR FORMATION (EARLY CRETACEOUS) OF ADILABAD DISTRICT, TELANGANA 97
Plate 2
98 GEOPHYTOLOGY
Ptilophyllum cf. P. distans (Feistmantel)
Jacob & Jacob 1954
Plate 1, fi gure 3
Description: Pinnate leaf, 4 cm long and 1
cm wide, lamina linear-lanceolate, rachis 1 mm
wide, longitudinally striated and concealed by
pinnae base. Pinnae attached on the upper surface
of the rachis by whole base, arising at an angle of
80°-90°, alternate-subopposite, falcate, at places
turn back, linear-lanceolate, 4-5 mm long and less
than 1 mm wide, margin entire, acroscopic margin
slightly round or auriculate, basiscopic margin
slightly decurrent and concealed by acroscopic
margin of the pinnae below, apex acute-apiculate.
Veins arising from base of the pinnae, 4-6 in
number, parallel and unforked.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen No.
40237.
Localities: Butarmal Nala, Adilabad District,
Telangana.
Remarks: One specimen from the present
collection shows gross morphological similarity
with P. distans (Feistmantel) Jacob & Jacob
(1954). The specimen closely resembles P. distans
from Gangapur Formation described by Sukh-Dev
and Rajanikanth (1988) in external features. As the
specimen lacks cuticular details, it is considered
here as a comparative form.
Order: Coniferales
Genus: Elatocladus Halle 1913
Elatocladus confertus (Oldham & Morris)
Halle 1913
Plate 2, fi gure 2
Description: Vegetative shoots 2-9 cm long,
central axis 1-1.5 mm wide, shoots irregularly
branched, arising at an angle of 30°-50°. Leaves
spirally borne, attached by whole base, arising
at an angle of 50°-70°, spreading laterally, swept
back, linear-lanceolate or oblong shape, 3-5 mm
long and 0.8-1 mm wide, base slightly twisted,
margin entire, apex acute-subacute. Midrib
distinct, running from base to apex.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40194-40206 and 40241.
Localities: Ralpet, Rampur, Nowgaon,
Butarmal Nala and Peddavagu (near Anksapur),
Adilabad District, Telangana.
Remarks: The present collection and previous
reports indicate that Elatocladus confertus is very
common in Gangapur Formation. The specimens
recovered lack cuticle. However, presence of
well preserved foliar and branching characters
(wherever preserved) provide suffi cient features to
identify them at species level. The specimens, here
described, show close similarity with the specimens
from the Gangapur Formation described by Bose
et al. (1982), but slightly differ in having smaller
leaves. E. confertus described here resembles very
closely to specimens from Kutch (Bose & Banerji
1984). In their external morphology, the specimens
also resemble with E. confertus gured by Halle
(1913) from Graham Land and by Sahni (1928)
from India.
Elatocladus sehoraensis Maheshwari &
Kumaran 1976
Plate 2, fi gure 1
Description: Vegetative shoot 4 cm long,
central axis 1 mm wide, shoots irregularly
branched, arising at an angle of 60°-70°. Leaves
spirally borne, attached by whole base, arising at
an angle of 40°-60°, spreading laterally, linear-
lanceolate shape, 5-6 mm long and 1 mm wide,
base twisted, margin entire, apex bluntly acute-
obtuse. Midrib distinct, running from base to apex.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40207-40209.
Localities: Ralpet and Butarmal Nala,
Adilabad District, Telangana.
Remarks: The specimens here described
closely resemble with the specimens from the
Jabalpur Formation described by Maheshwari
and Kumaran (1976) in gross morphology and in
lacking cuticular features. The species is being
reported for the rst time from the Gangapur
Formation.
GYMNOSPERM FOSSILS FROM THE GANGAPUR FORMATION (EARLY CRETACEOUS) OF ADILABAD DISTRICT, TELANGANA 99
Elatocladus cf. E. bosei Maheshwari &
Kumaran 1976
Plate 2, fi gure 3
Description: Twig slender, maximum
available length is 4 cm, stem 1-1.5 mm wide.
Leaves spirally borne, attached by whole base,
arising at an angle of 70°-80°, spreading in
horizontal plane, linear-lanceolate, 3-5 mm long
and 0.8-1 mm wide, base constricted, margin
entire, apex obtusely pointed. Midrib distinct,
traverse from base to apex.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40210-40211.
Localities: Ralpet and Butarmal Nala,
Adilabad District, Telangana.
Remarks: The specimens from the Gangapur
Formation are comparable to E. bosei of the
Jabalpur Formation described by Maheshwari and
Kumaran (1976) and E. chawadensis from the
Bhuj Formation of Kutch, described by Bose and
Banerji (1984) in their external morphology, but
slightly differ from the latter in their smaller leaf
size. However, both of these species were erected
after their cuticle structure which is absent in the
present specimens. Hence, based on their gross
morphology, the specimens are only compared
with E. bosei. It is recorded for the fi rst time from
the Gangapur Formation.
Elatocladus andhrensis Chinnappa,
Rajanikanth & Y. V. Rao, sp. nov.
Plate 2, fi gures 4-5, 7-8
Diagnosis: Shoots irregularly branched,
branch angle 40°-50°, axis 1-3 mm wide, robust,
leaves spirally arranged, attached by whole base,
30°-50°, face forward, oblong, 2-3 mm x 1 mm
in size, base never twisted, margin entire, apex
subacute, midvein prominent, traverses from base
to apex, strobilus 1 cm x 0.5 cm in size consisting
of 8-10 oval bodies
Description: Vegetative shoots irregularly
branched at an angle of 40°-50°, largest specimens
15 cm long, axis 1-3 mm wide, robust. Leaves
spirally borne, attached by whole base, arising at
an angle of 30°-50°, spreading forward, oblong in
shape, small in size, i.e. 2-3 mm long and less than
1 mm wide, base never twisted, margin entire, apex
acute-subacute. Single prominent midvein passes
through the leaf from base to apex. The fertile
shoot laterally emerging from the vegetative shoot
at an angle of 30°-40°, terminated by aggregate of
probable male cones, 1 cm long and 0.5 cm wide
and consist 8-10 oval bodies.
Holotype: BSIP Specimen No. 40212.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40212-40218.
Localities: Ralpet, Nowgaon and Peddavagu
(near Anksapur), Adilabad District, Telangana.
Etymology: The specifi c epithet refers to
Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra
Pradesh.
Remarks and comparison: The specimens
of E. andhrensis possess well branching pattern
and strobili/cones. The previous reports of this
kind from the Gangapur Formation are by Bose et
al. (1982) and Sukh-Dev and Rajanikanth (1988)
under E. confertus and by Pal et al. (1988) as E.
heterophylla. The present specimens differ from
the earlier ones in leaf nature and smaller leaf size.
The cone in E. heterophylla Pal et al. (1988) is 2.3
cm long and 0.7 cm wide and consists of 13-14 oval
bodies, whereas it is 1 cm long and 0.5 cm wide and
contains 8-10 oval bodies in the present species. The
isolated specimens of Conites sripermaturensis,
probable female cones of E. plana Feistmantel
(Sahni 1928), are different from the attached cones
of present specimens. The present species also
resembles E. confertus from Kutch described by
Bose and Banerji (1984) in external morphology.
However, it is easily distinguishable from the
latter by their small size of leaves, i.e. 2-3 mm,
divergence angle, i.e. 30º-50º, forward spreading
and absence of swept back. The leaf divergence
angle in E. andhrensis resembles Elatocladus sp. B
from the Gangapur Formation described by Sukh-
Dev and Rajanikanth (1988) and E. sherensis from
Jabalpur Formation described by Prakash (2013).
However, it differs in other features such as leaf
100 GEOPHYTOLOGY
size and their nature. The solitary specimens of
Stachyotaxus sampathkumaranii (Rao 1950, 1964)
differ from those of Elatocladus by lenticular leaf
shape and its phyllotaxy. Elatocladus andhrensis
is primarily distinguished from all other known
species of Elatocladus based on small size of
leaves and narrow divergence of leaf angle and in
having strobili/cone.
Genus: Pagiophyllum Heer 1881
Pagiophyllum marwarensis Bose and
Sukh-Dev 1972
Plate 2, fi gure 9
Description: Leafy axes 1-2 cm long, bearing
spirally inserted leaves, arising at an angle of 50°-
60°, spread laterally or forward. Leaves arising
from rhomboidal leaf base cushion, 3-5 mm long
and 1-1.5 mm broad, margin entire, base decurrent,
apex pointed or acute.
Specimen examined: BSIP Specimen Nos.
40238-40239.
Localities: Rampur, Adilabad District,
Telangana.
Remarks: The present specimen resembles P.
marwarensis from Jabalpur Formation described
by Bose and Sukh-Dev (1972) and from Gangapur
Formation described by Bose et al. (1982) in gross
morphological features.
Pagiophyllum rewaensis Bose &
Sukh-Dev 1972
Plate 2, fi gure 6
Description: Leafy axes 25 mm long, bearing
spirally inserted leaves, arising at an angle of 60°-
70°, spread forward. Leaves small and narrow
with distinct keel, 3-5 mm long and less than 1
mm broad, broad at base and narrowing towards
the apex, apical portion of the leaf slightly curved,
margin entire, base slightly decurrent, apex acute.
Specimens examined: BSIP Specimen No.
40240.
Localities: Peddavagu (near Anksapur),
Adilabad District, Telangana.
Remarks: The present specimen resembles P.
rewaensis from Jabalpur Formation described by
Bose and Sukh-Dev (1972) in gross morphological
features. However, the leaves in holotype are 9 mm
long and 2 mm wide, but their range is mentioned
as 2.5 x 1.5-10 x 2 mm (Bose & Sukh-Dev 1972).
The leaf size in the present specimen fi ts within the
range given by the authors. The species is new to
the Gangapur Formation.
DISCUSSION
The Gangapur Formation holds good diversity
of plant megafossils in the form of gymnosperms
showing quantitative and qualitative abundance
(Table 2, Text-fi gure 2). These are represented
by pteridosperms, cycadophytes and conifers.
Conifers are dominant and include nine genera, viz.
Elatocladus (9 species), Pagiophyllum (6 species),
Araucarites (3 species), Brachyphyllum (2 species)
and Allocladus, Arthrotaxites, Coniferocaulon,
Conites and Torreytites each represented by single
species. The genus Elatocladus is comparatively
rich and more common in Gangapur Formation
and is recovered in great number from all the
localities. A new species of Elatocladus (E.
andhrensis), with in situ strobili, has also been
recorded. The cycadophytes include Cycadales
and Bennettitales. The former is less diversifi ed
than the latter. Cycadales includes two genera, viz.
Taeniopteris (with three species) and Cycadites
sp. The Bennettitales shows taxonomically good
Text-fi gure 2. Diversity of various gymnosperm taxa in the
Gangapur Formation
GYMNOSPERM FOSSILS FROM THE GANGAPUR FORMATION (EARLY CRETACEOUS) OF ADILABAD DISTRICT, TELANGANA 101
diversifi cation, but numerically less. It includes
ve genera, viz. Ptilophyllum (with six species)
and Pterophyllum, Otozamites, Dictyozamites and
Anomozamites each with single species. Ginkgoales
are not recovered. The palynological studies also
indicate more or less similar scenario, where the
pollen spectrum is dominated by conifers followed
by cycadophytes (Rajeshwara Rao et al. 1983,
Table 2. Distribution pattern of plant taxa in Gangapur Formation; Ak: Anksapur, Bn: Butarmal Nala, Ck: Chirakunta, Gp: Gangapur, Kn:
Kondapalli, Kt: Kattarala, Ma: Moar, Nw: Nowgaon, Rl: Ralpet, Rm: Rampur; +: present, -: absent, *: added in this study.
Gymnosperm taxa Fossil localities
Cycadales/Pentoxylales Nw Kn Rl Kt Bn Ma Ck Ak Gp Rm
Cycadites sp. - - - - - - + - - -
Taeniopteris kutchensis Bose & Banerji - - * - - - - * - *
Taeniopteris spatulata McClelland + - + + + - - * - *
Taeniopteris sp. * - - - - - - * - *
Bennettitales
? Anomozamites sp. + - - - - - - - - -
Cycadolepis sp. - - - - - - + - - -
Dictyozamites gondwanensis Sukh-Dev & Rajanikanth - - - - + - - - - -
Nilssonia sp. - - + + - - - - - -
Otozamites sp. - - + + - - - - + -
Pterophyllum medlicottianum Oldham & Morris - - + - - - - - - -
Ptilophyllum acutifolium Morris + + + - - - - + - *
Ptilophyllum cutchense Morris + - + - - - - - - *
Ptilophyllum distans (Feistmantel) Jacob & Jacob - - - - + - - - - -
Ptilophyllum horridum Roy - - - - + - - - - -
Ptilophyllum rarinervis (Feistmantel) Bose & Kasat - - - - * - - - - -
Ptilophyllum sp. - - + + + - - - - -
Coniferales
Allocladus bansaensis Sukh-Dev & Zeba-Bano + - + - - - - - - -
Araucarites cutchensis Feistmantel + - + - + - - - - -
Araucarites minutus Bose & Maheshwari + - - - + - - - - -
Araucarites sp. - - + + - - - - - -
Arthrotaxites feistmantelii Sahni + - - - - - - - - -
Brachyphyllum sehoraensis Bose & Maheshwari - - - - + - - - - -
Brachyphyllum sp. - - - - + - - - - -
Coniferocaulon rajmahalense Gupta + - - - - - - - - -
Conites sripermaturensis Sahni - - - + - - - - - -
Elatocladus andhrensis sp. nov. * - * - - - - * - -
Elatocladus bosei Maheshwari & Kumaran - - * - * - - - - -
Elatocladus confertus Seward & Sahni + - + + + - + * + *
Elatocladus heterophylla Halle - + - - - - - - - -
Elatocladus jabalpurensis (Feistmantel) Sahni + - - + - - - + - -
Elatocladus kingianus Bose et al. - - + + - - - - + -
Elatocladus plana (Feistmantel) Seward - - + + - - - - - -
Elatocladus sehoraensis Maheshwari & Kumaran - - * - * - - - - -
Elatocladus sp. + - + - + - - - - -
Pagiophyllum burmense Sahni - - + + - - - - - -
Pagiophyllum marwarensis Bose & Sukh-Dev + - - - + + + - - *
Pagiophyllum peregrinum Lindley & Hutton - - + - - - - - - -
Pagiophyllum rewaensis Bose & Sukh-Dev - - - - - - - * - -
Pagiophyllum spinosum Sukh-Dev & Rajanikanth - - + - - - - - - -
Pagiophyllum sp. - - + - - - - - - -
Torreyites sitholeyi Ganju - - - + - - - - - -
102 GEOPHYTOLOGY
Prabhakar 1987, Ramanujam & Rajeshwara Rao
1979, 1980, Bose et al. 1982). Good preservation
of spores and pollen indicates that the ora was
growing around the depositional site and there was
not much of long distance transport (Rajeshwara
Rao et al. 1983).
The abundance of conifers and nature of
bennettitalean leaves in the presently studied
assemblage closely resemble the ora of Jabalpur
Formation of Sehora area. The relative presence
or absence of some taxa in both Gangapur and
Jabalpur formations can be attributed to taphonomic
constraints (Spicer 1991) or local fl oral variations.
Concerted efforts are needed to fully understand
oral variations and local anomalies. The
Gymnosperm ora from the coeval litho-units of
East Coast basins of India shows co-dominance of
cycadophytes and conifers and relative abundance
of Dictyozamites, whereas the latter is scarcely
represented in Gangapur fl ora.
The overall composition of palaeobotanical
data indicates upland vegetation dominated by
conifers. The less abundance and diversity of
cycadophytes, scarcity of broad leaves members
(e.g. Dictyozamites, Ginkgo) and presence of
conifers with narrow and scaly leaves indicate
that the plants were under physiological stress
conditions. This is substantiated by presence of
sunken stomata, confi nement of stomata to lower
side of leaf and presence of papillae (Bose et al.
1982, Sukh-Dev & Rajanikanth 1988). On the
contrary, presence of Classopollis pollen indicates
brackish environment (Rajeshwar Rao et al. 1983,
Prabhakar 1987, Rajanikanth 1996). However, it
is important to notice that Classopollis like pollen
are produced by members of both Araucariaceae
and Cheirolepidiaceae families (Kendall 1949,
Couper 1955, Venkatachala 1966, Srivastava
1976). These members are also adapt to xeric
environments and can tolerate hot and dry climates
(Alvin 1982, Archangelsky & Taylor 1986, Watson
1988, Zhou et al. 2000, Van der Ham et al. 2003,
Kunzmann et al. 2004, Yang et al. 2009, Mendes
et al. 2010, Du et al. 2013). Hence, the inference
that the conifer dominated ora of Gangapur
Formation existed under warm and humid
conditions seems justifi ed. Further, non-recovery
of marine phytoplankton and doubtful recovery
of marine algae (Rajanikanth 1989) suggest that
marine/ marginal marine/brackish environments
are unlikely. Palaeobotanical, sedimentological
and heavy mineral studies indicate fresh water
(fl uvial) environment (Sukh-Dev & Rajanikanth
1988, Prabhakar 1987, Ramamohanarao et al.
2003). Poor sorting and random orientation
of plant fragments in clay beds of Gangapur
Formation may refl ect frequent fl oods in the basin
(Lakshminarayana 2002).
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors are thankful to Professor Sunil
Bajpai, Director, Birbal Sahni Institute of
Palaeobotany, Lucknow for encouragement and
support.
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... The Early Cretaceous Pranhita-Godavari flora is known from micro-and macrofossil studies (Feistmantel 1879, Sahni 1928, Mahabale 1967, 1980, Bose et al. 1982, Rajeshwar Rao et al. 1983, Ramakrishna et al. 1985, Ramakrishna & Muralidhara Rao 1986, Prabhakar 1987, Ramakrishna & Ramanujam 1987, Muralidhara Rao & Ramakrishna 1988, Pal et al. 1988, Sukh-Dev & Rajanikanth 1988, Chinnappa et al. 2014, Chinnappa 2016. The diverse flora is composed of bryophytes, pteridophytes, pteridosperms, gymnosperms and angiosperms. ...
... Cretaceous sediments, but without attempting to explain differences in the composition of the micro-and macrofloras, nor to assess their palaeoecological implications. Recently, Chinnappa et al. (2014) examined a small macroflora from these sediments and considered its palaeoecology, but did not take into account the associated microflora. Investigations of one or the other component of ancient sediments can provide only a partial picture; they must be considered together to get a complete picture of the vegetation. ...
... A report of Cycadolepis sp., generally considered to represent a bract from the base of a female cone (Harris 1969, Cantrill 1997, is the only reported fertile bennettitalean material from the present flora (Table 2); among them, E. confertus (Oldham & Morris) Halle is extremely rich. This foliage type is one of the most common in the Early Cretaceous of the Southern Hemisphere (Cantrill 1997, Rees & Cleal 2004, McLoughlin 1996, Chinnappa et al. 2014. Leaf shoots of E. confertus and E. andhrensis Chinnappa et al. with attached fertile strobili are of special interest (Bose et al. 1982, Sukh-Dev & Rajanikanth 1988, Chinnappa et al. 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
The Early Cretaceous flora from the Gangapur Formation (Pranhita-Godavari Basin, east coast of India) was studied. Its plant diversity and abundance patterns were examined, and its palaeoecology and environment were interpreted, based on the micro-and macrofloras and sedimentological inputs. The flora is rich and diverse, and consists of bryophytes, pteridophytes, pteridosperms, gymnosperms and angiosperms. The microflora shows higher taxonomic diversity and abundance than the macroflora. Overall, the study indicated an abundance of conifers, particularly Podocarpaceae. The taphocoenosis of the flora comprises local to regional elements derived from riverbank, floodplain, backswamp and valley settings. Taken together, the data on the flora and sedimentology suggest that warm and humid environments prevailed.
... The Early Cretaceous Pranhita-Godavari flora is known from micro-and macrofossil studies (Feistmantel 1879, Sahni 1928, Mahabale 1967, 1980, Bose et al. 1982, Rajeshwar Rao et al. 1983, Ramakrishna et al. 1985, Ramakrishna & Muralidhara Rao 1986, Prabhakar 1987, Ramakrishna & Ramanujam 1987, Muralidhara Rao & Ramakrishna 1988, Pal et al. 1988, Sukh-Dev & Rajanikanth 1988, Chinnappa et al. 2014, Chinnappa 2016. The diverse flora is composed of bryophytes, pteridophytes, pteridosperms, gymnosperms and angiosperms. ...
... Earlier, Rajanikanth (1996) analyzed the micro-and macrofloras of these Early Cretaceous sediments, but without attempting to explain differences in the composition of the micro-and macrofloras, nor to assess their palaeoecological implications. Recently, Chinnappa et al. (2014) examined a small macroflora from these sediments and considered its palaeoecology, but did not take into account the associated microflora. Investigations of one or the other component of ancient sediments can provide only a partial picture; they must be considered together to get a complete picture of the vegetation. ...
... Little fertile bennettitalean material is known from Gondwana floras to date (Cantrill 2000). A report of Cycadolepis sp., generally considered to represent a bract from the base of a female cone (Harris 1969, Cantrill 1997, is the only reported fertile bennettitalean material from the present flora (Cantrill 1997, Rees & Cleal 2004, McLoughlin 1996, Chinnappa et al. 2014. Leaf shoots of E. confertus and E. andhrensis Chinnappa et al. with attached fertile strobili are of special interest (Bose et al. 1982, Sukh-Dev & Rajanikanth 1988, Chinnappa et al. 2014). ...
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The Early Cretaceous flora from the Gangapur Formation (Pranhita-Godavari Basin, east coast of India) was studied. Its plant diversity and abundance patterns were examined, and palaeoecology and environmental were interpreted, based on the micro-and macrofloras and sedimentological inputs. The flora is rich and diverse, and consists of bryophytes, pteridophytes, pteridosperms, gymnosperms and angiosperms. The microflora shows higher taxonomic diversity and abundance than the macroflora. Overall, the study indicated an abundance of conifers, particularly Podocarpaceae. The taphocoenosis of the flora comprises local to regional elements derived from riverbank, floodplain, backswamp and valley settings. Taken together, the data on the flora and sedimentology suggest that warm and humid environments prevailed.
... These evidences are documented from various sedimentary basins of India distributed in eastern (Cauvery, Palar, Krishna–Pranhita–Godavari and Mahanadi basins), western (Kutch, Rajashtan) and central (South Rewa, Satpura, and Rajmahal basins) regions (e.g. Feistmantel, 1876a; Sahni, 1928 Sahni, , 1931 Bose & Banerji, 1984; Sen Gupta, 1988; Sukh– Dev & Rajanikanth, 1989a, b; Bose et al., 1991; Sharma, 1997; Banerji, 2000; Rajanikanth et al., 2000; Prakash, 2008; Chinnappa et al., 2014a Chinnappa et al., , b, c, 2015). It has been customary to group these litho units/formations of different sedimentary basins under 'Upper Gondwana' characterized by Ptilophyllum flora. ...
... The early Cretaceous terrestrial vegetation was a major source of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons in many parts of the world (Ramanathan, 1968; Thomas, 1982; Smith, 1988; Rao 1993 Rao , 2001 Swamy & Kapoor, 1999; Mehrotra et al., 2012). Recently some important contributions to the early Cretaceous flora of Krishna–Pranhita–Godavari basins indicating nature of past vegetation and the prevailed climate have also been made (Chinnappa et al., 2014aChinnappa et al., , b, c, 2015). In view of recent spurt in researches on the early Cretaceous, a comprehensive review of the Indian early Cretaceous flora has been attempted to understand the diversity of the flora. ...
... Muralidhara Rao and Ramakrishna (1988) described a taxacean plant taxa, Torryetites sitholeyi for the first time. Cone bearing shoots of Elatocladus and an isolated cone– Conites sripermaturensis are also reported later (Pal et al., 1988; Ramakrishna & Muralidhara Rao, 1991; Chinnappa et al., 2014a). Ramanujam et al. (1987) discussed the floristic and stratigraphic significance of the megafloral assemblage of Gangapur Formation. ...
... These evidences are documented from various sedimentary basins of India distributed in eastern (Cauvery, Palar, Krishna–Pranhita–Godavari and Mahanadi basins), western (Kutch, Rajashtan) and central (South Rewa, Satpura, and Rajmahal basins) regions (e.g. Feistmantel, 1876a; Sahni, 1928 Sahni, , 1931 Bose & Banerji, 1984; Sen Gupta, 1988; Sukh– Dev & Rajanikanth, 1989a, b; Bose et al., 1991; Sharma, 1997; Banerji, 2000; Rajanikanth et al., 2000; Prakash, 2008; Chinnappa et al., 2014a Chinnappa et al., , b, c, 2015). It has been customary to group these litho units/formations of different sedimentary basins under 'Upper Gondwana' characterized by Ptilophyllum flora. ...
... The early Cretaceous terrestrial vegetation was a major source of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons in many parts of the world (Ramanathan, 1968; Thomas, 1982; Smith, 1988; Rao 1993 Rao , 2001 Swamy & Kapoor, 1999; Mehrotra et al., 2012). Recently some important contributions to the early Cretaceous flora of Krishna–Pranhita–Godavari basins indicating nature of past vegetation and the prevailed climate have also been made (Chinnappa et al., 2014aChinnappa et al., , b, c, 2015). In view of recent spurt in researches on the early Cretaceous, a comprehensive review of the Indian early Cretaceous flora has been attempted to understand the diversity of the flora. ...
... Muralidhara Rao and Ramakrishna (1988) described a taxacean plant taxa, Torryetites sitholeyi for the first time. Cone bearing shoots of Elatocladus and an isolated cone– Conites sripermaturensis are also reported later (Pal et al., 1988; Ramakrishna & Muralidhara Rao, 1991; Chinnappa et al., 2014a). Ramanujam et al. (1987) discussed the floristic and stratigraphic significance of the megafloral assemblage of Gangapur Formation. ...
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Rajanikanth A & Chinnappa Ch 2016. Early Cretaceous flora of India–A review. The Palaeobotanist 65(2): 209–245. Earth’s terrestrial ecosystem during the early Cretaceous was marked by the dominance of naked seeded plants and appearance of flowering plants. Tectonic changes and evolutionary processes affected southern floras of the globe during this time. Review of Indian early Cretaceous flora distributed in peri and intra–cratonic basins signify homogenity of composition with regional variations. The flora composed of pteridophytes, pteridospermaleans, pentoxylaleans, bennettitaleans, ginkgoaleans, coniferaleans, taxaleans and taxa of uncertain affinity along with sporadic occurrence of flowering plants represent a unique Indian early Cretaceous flora. Similitude of basinal floras with marginal differences can be attributed to taphonomic limitations and taxonomic angularity. A perusal of available data brings out an opportunity for novelty in floral composition and variable associations dictated by prevailed environmental conditions. The eastern, western and central regions of India hold distinct litho units encompassing plant mega fossils represented by leaf, wood / axis, seed, fructification and associated marker forms. Remarkable tenacity of certain plant groups, which even found in modern flora and vulnerability of many taxa constitute a blend of extinct and extant. The appearance and extinction of certain taxa can be explained as a cumulative affect of evolutionary and climatic factors. Perpetuation of gondwanic floral elements during the early Cretaceous along with newly evolved floral components testifies evolutionary innovations and changing ecological constraints. Key–words—Early Cretaceous, Floristics, Peninsular India, Diversification, Gondwana, Evolution, Palaeogeography.
... These evidences are documented from various sedimentary basins of India distributed in eastern (Cauvery, Palar, Krishna–Pranhita–Godavari and Mahanadi basins), western (Kutch, Rajashtan) and central (South Rewa, Satpura, and Rajmahal basins) regions (e.g. Feistmantel, 1876a; Sahni, 1928 Sahni, , 1931 Bose & Banerji, 1984; Sen Gupta, 1988; Sukh– Dev & Rajanikanth, 1989a, b; Bose et al., 1991; Sharma, 1997; Banerji, 2000; Rajanikanth et al., 2000; Prakash, 2008; Chinnappa et al., 2014a Chinnappa et al., , b, c, 2015). It has been customary to group these litho units/formations of different sedimentary basins under 'Upper Gondwana' characterized by Ptilophyllum flora. ...
... The early Cretaceous terrestrial vegetation was a major source of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons in many parts of the world (Ramanathan, 1968; Thomas, 1982; Smith, 1988; Rao 1993 Rao , 2001 Swamy & Kapoor, 1999; Mehrotra et al., 2012). Recently some important contributions to the early Cretaceous flora of Krishna–Pranhita–Godavari basins indicating nature of past vegetation and the prevailed climate have also been made (Chinnappa et al., 2014aChinnappa et al., , b, c, 2015). In view of recent spurt in researches on the early Cretaceous, a comprehensive review of the Indian early Cretaceous flora has been attempted to understand the diversity of the flora. ...
... Muralidhara Rao and Ramakrishna (1988) described a taxacean plant taxa, Torryetites sitholeyi for the first time. Cone bearing shoots of Elatocladus and an isolated cone– Conites sripermaturensis are also reported later (Pal et al., 1988; Ramakrishna & Muralidhara Rao, 1991; Chinnappa et al., 2014a). Ramanujam et al. (1987) discussed the floristic and stratigraphic significance of the megafloral assemblage of Gangapur Formation. ...
... Dictyozamites) and presence of coniferaleans with narrow and scaly leaves indicate that the 310 plants were under physiological stress conditions (Chinnappa et al., 2014a). This is substantiated 311 by the presence of sunken stomata and presence of papillae ( Sukh-Dev & 312 Rajanikanth(1992, 1995a, b, 1996) analyzed the fossil flora and ...
... Dev (1970Coarse, calcareous, conglomerate, Limestone, purple grits / sills, Green sandstone --------------unconformity--------- Sandstone, alternating with clays, conglomerate, earthy haematite, coal carbonaceous shale, red clay and bed of chert Dictyozamites, Otozamites, Anomozamites, Pterophyllum and Ptilophyllum. The flora is more comparable to the early Cretaceous flora from the Gangapur Formation, Pranhita-Godavari Basin (Sukh-Dev & Rajanikanth,1989a; Chinnappa et al., 2014a). Sukh-Dev, 1987). ...
Research
Earth‘s terrestrial ecosystem during the early Cretaceous was marked by the dominance 6 of naked seeded plants and appearance of flowering plants. Tectonic changes and evolutionary 7 processes affected southern floras of the globe during this time. Review of Indian early 8 Cretaceous flora distributed in peri and intra-cratonic basins signify homogenity of composition 9 with regional variations. The flora composed of pteridophytes, pteridospermaleans, 10 pentoxylaleans, bennettitaleans, ginkgoaleans, coniferaleans, taxaleans and taxa of uncertain 11 affinity along with sporadic occurrence of flowering plants represent a unique Indian early 12 Cretaceous flora. Similitude of basinal floras with marginal differences can be attributed to 13 taphonomic limitations and taxonomic angularity. A perusal of available data brings out an 14 opportunity for novelty in floral composition and variable associations dictated by prevailed 15 environmental conditions. The eastern, western and central regions of India hold distinct litho 16 units encompassing plant mega fossils represented by leaf, wood / axis, seed, fructification and 17 associated marker forms. Remarkable tenacity of certain plant groups, which even found in 18 modern flora and vulnerability of many taxa constitute a blend of extinct and extant. The 19 appearance and extinction of certain taxa can be explained as a cumulative affect of evolutionary 20 and climatic factors. Perpetuation of gondwanic floral elements during the early Creaceous along 21 with newly evolved floral components testifies evolutionary innovations and changing ecological 22 constraints.
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Fossil conifers from the Early Cretaceous, most likely late Aptian, Crato Formation were studied. The excellent preservation of several of those fossils allowed detailed investigations of the leaf epidermis by light microscope (LM) and by scanning electron microscope (SEM). Members of two conifer taxa were recognized: The Araucariaceae are represented by a female cone of cf. Araucaria spec. A juvenile cone (Araucariostrobus spec.) and sterile foliage shoots of Brachyphyllum obesum might be attributed to the Araucariaceae as well. The morpho-genus Lindleycladus (incertae sedis) is represented by foliage shoots. The occurrence of Lindleycladus is the first record of this extinct morpho-genus in the Southern Hemisphere. Anatomical features of these conifers are interpreted as adaptations to a warm seasonally dry climate. Taphonomic problems concerning these conifer remains are discussed. Fossile Koniferen aus der unterkretazischen, höchstwahrscheinlich oberaptischen Crato Formation wurden untersucht. Die ausgezeichnete Erhaltung einiger Exemplare gestattete die Analyse von Blattepidermen mittels Licht- und Rasterelektronen-mikroskop. Vertreter zweier Koniferentaxa wurden nachgewiesen: Araucariaceae kommen mit einem weiblichen Zapfen von cf. Araucaria spec. vor. Ein juveniler Zapfen (Araucariostrobus spec.) und sterile Zweige mit der Beblätterung der Morpho-Species Brachyphyllum obesum werden unter Vorbehalt ebenfalls zu den Araucariaceae gestellt. Vegetative Organe der Morpho-Gattung Lindleycladus (incertae sedis) sind ebenfalls erhalten. Das Vorkommen von Lindleycladus ist ein erster Nachweis dieser fossilen Morpho-Gattung in der Südhemisphäre. Anatomische Merkmale dieser Koniferen werden als Anpassungen an ein warmes, saisonal trockenes Klima gedeutet. Im Zusammenhang mit den Koniferenresten werden taphonomische Probleme diskutiert. doi:10.1002/mmng.20040070109
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An impression collected from Onthea in the Rajmahal Hills in Bihar (Jurassic), India, is described and interpreted as a species of Stachyotaxus. The impression shows the sterile part bearing Elatocladus conferta type of leaves and the strobilar part bearing oppositely arranged megasporophylls, bearing in the angles of their inward bend two obliquely placed seeds, like those of Stachyotaxus elegans. Incidentally this is the first report of Stachyotaxus from India and the specimen is placed under a new name S. sampathkumarani.
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The Gondwana Sequence in the northern part of the Pranhita-Godavari Valley consists of four formations of the Lower Gondwana and seven formations of the Upper Gondwana. The gross lithological characters and mappability are considered as the major criteria for delineating the formations. The name Kamthi Formation which has been used by different authors in different senses, is here used in the sense of Sengupta (1970). The rocks between the Barakar and this Kamthi are divided into four lithozones for limitations of mappability. Although some of these lithozones have earlier been designated as formations, at present not sufficient information is available to justify this. Only two breaks, both within the Upper Gondwana, are found to be present: there is no recognisable break between the Lower and the Upper Gondwana. A summary of this succession is presented in tabular form taking into account the words of earlier authors. The alternative views that are radically different from the one presented here are also discussed briefly. The usefulness of plant megafossils and fossil vertebrates in understanding the stratigraphy is discussed briefly and their role in determining the possible geological ages of some of the formations is mentioned. The vertebrate fauna from a number of formations is listed. At least seven formations are fossiliferous as far as vertebrates are concerned. Of these, two belonging to the Triassic and one belonging to the Jurassic are quite well-documented. The other four are less well known, but serve as very useful time markers. All these vertebrate-bearing formations can be correlated with co-eval rocks elsewhere in the world. The difficulty of correlating continental deposits is realized and keeping this in view a tentative correlation is presented.