Project 3218: N. A. Jud, M. D. D'Emic, S.A. Williams, J.C. Mathews, K.M. Tremaine, J. Bhattacharya. 2018. A new fossil assemblage shows that large angiosperm trees grew in North America by the Turonian (Late Cretaceous). Science Advances. 4 (9):1-6.
Specimen: † Paraphyllanthoxylon sp. (UF/19462-69143)
View: Transverse section


The diversification of flowering plants and marked turnover in vertebrate faunas during the mid-Cretaceous transformed terrestrial communities, but the transition is obscured by reduced terrestrial deposition attributable to high sea levels. We report a new fossil assemblage from multiple localities in the Upper Cretaceous Ferron Sandstone Member of the Mancos Shale Formation in Utah. The fossils date to the Turonian, a severely underrepresented interval in the terrestrial fossil record of North America. A large silicified log (maximum preserved diameter, 1.8 m; estimated height, ca. 50 m) is assigned to the genus Paraphyllanthoxylon; it is the largest known pre-Campanian angiosperm and the earliest documented occurrence of an angiosperm tree more than 1.0 m in diameter. Foliage and palynomorphs of ferns, conifers, and angiosperms confirm the presence of mixed forest or woodland vegetation. Previously known terrestrial vertebrate remains from the Ferron Sandstone Member include fish teeth, two short dinosaur trackways, and a pterosaur; we report the first turtle and crocodilian remains and an ornithopod sacrum. Previous studies indicate that angiosperm trees were present by the Cenomanian, but this discovery demonstrates that angiosperm trees approaching 2 m in diameter were part of the forest canopies across southern North America by the Turonian (~92 million years ago), nearly 15 million years earlier than previously thought.

Read the article »

Article DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar8568

Project DOI: 10.7934/P3218,
This project contains
  • 2 Media
  • 1 Taxon
  • 1 Specimen
Total size of project's media files: 29.06M

Download Project SDD File
Currently Viewing:
MorphoBank Project 3218

    Authors' Institutions

    • Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford

    • McMaster University

    • Montana State University

    • Northern Illinois University

    • Stony Brook University

    • William Jewell College

    • Adelphi University


    member name taxa specimens media
    Nathan Jud
    Project Administrator
    Last logged in 10/25/18

    Project has no matrices defined.

    Project views

    type number of views Individual items viewed (where applicable)
    Total project views2892
    Project overview637
    Media views978Media search (739 views); M584620 (123 views); M584619 (116 views);
    Views for media list401
    Specimen list388
    Taxon list306
    Documents list1

    Project downloads

    type number of downloads Individual items downloaded (where applicable)
    Total downloads from project81
    Media downloads7M584620 (7 downloads);
    Project downloads74