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, 209 (4454), 396-7

Evidence for Lignin-Like Constituents in Early Silurian (Llandoverian) Plant Fossils

Evidence for Lignin-Like Constituents in Early Silurian (Llandoverian) Plant Fossils

K J Niklas et al. Science.

Abstract

Chemical evidence is presented with previously reported morphological features for banded-tube cell types in the earliest known plant fossils associated with stream-deposited sediments. Phenolic aldehydes (p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, vanillin) and aromatic compounds from pyrolysis (2-methoxy-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, methylsyringaldehyde) derived from cellular remains are interpreted as evidence for lignin or lignin-like degradation products. The presence of parallel-aligned banded tubes, with annular to spiral thickenings and occasional end walls, in conjunction with lignin-like constituents fulfill most of the morphological and chemical criteria for cell types that could have functioned as water-conducting cells.

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