Tatapania gen. nov., a possible cone of Schizoneura gondwanensis Feistmantel from the Late Permian in the Tatapani-Ramkola Coalfield, India
Keywords:Sphenophyte, Equisetales, Fructification, Peltate disc, Terminal cone, Late Permian
Tatapania-a new genus of equisetalean fructifications, is represented by oblong-ovate bractless cones recorded from the Late Permian strata exposed in Banki Rivulet in Tatapani-Ramkola Coalfield, Chhattisgarh State, India. This is the first record of compact, conical and possibly terminal sphenophyte cones from the Lower Gondwana. The cones may have been related to Schizoneura gondwanensis as these are found in association with sterile equisetalean stems and leaves of Schizoneura gondwanensis in the same beds.
Two new species, viz. Tatapania indica and T. obcordata, have been instituted for the genus. Both species closely resemble cones of modern Equisetum. The presence of a compact cone similar to that of an extant Equisetum as early as Late Permian of Gondwana is interesting, especially when no member of Palaeozoic sphenophytes possessed such compact cones. The present find also supports the hypothetical model of Naugolnykh (2004a) wherein he proposed the evolution of the compact strobilus and peltate sporangiophore in modern Equisetum from the Late Palaeozoic ancestors. The double or single cones of Tatapania have been placed intermediate between Equisetites arenaceus with three cones attached together and Neocalamites carreri having single cone in the Naugolnykh’s evolution model of Equisetum. A reconstruction of Schizoneura gondwanensis plant having Tatapania cones attached on the apices of the leaf bearing branches has been attempted.
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