Influence of latitude and climate on spread, radiation and rise to dominance of early angiosperms during the Cretaceous in the Northern Hemisphere


  • C. COIFFARD Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung an der Humboldt-Universität Berlin. Abteilung Sammlungen, Invalidenstrasse 43, D-10 115 Berlin, Germany.
  • B. GÓMEZ CNRS-UMR 5276, Terre, Planètes, Environnement, Universtité de Lyon. Départament de Biologie, 2 rue Dubois, F-69600, Villeurbanne Cedex, France.



Hyblean Plateau, GPS, Active tectonics, Deformation, Geodynamic


Our aim is to evaluate the influence of climate and latitude on the rise to dominance of angiosperms in space and time during the Cretaceous. The main objectives of the study are: 1) to determine whether a relationship existed between plant biogeographical distribution and Cretaceous climate changes; 2) to explore latitude-dependent forcing on early angiosperm ecology; 3) to propose a mechanism explaining the observed stages of radiation in early angiosperms. The study focuses on 18 Cretaceous megafossil localities and reviews on microfossils in the Northern Hemisphere. A database has been compiled using literature and personal unpublished data. The data document occurrences of micro- and megafossil plant remains including spores, pollen grains, leaves and whole plants. They are placed in context through the use of Cretaceous geographical maps and temperature curves or values. There is a clear correlation between latitude and the composition of Cretaceous floras. Latitudinal vegetation belts fluctuated in concert with climate changes during the Cretaceous. Differences in original plant associations may have driven the gradual plant turnover that resulted in the rise to dominance of early angiosperms during the Cretaceous. Cretaceous climate changes created dispersal bottlenecks. Bottlenecks induced the extinction of some plant groups and the radiation of others. Those that successfully radiated continued to spread.







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