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Indeed: How old are the aroids?



Peter and Sin Yeng,

Not only are your comments food for thought, they are astonishing. You are hinting that aroids are as old as any flowering plants, and you also believe that they are at least as old as the earliest surviving angiosperm fossils.

Of course, we all know that if you want to be a fossil it helps to have hard, durable parts that can be preserved long enough to be covered in sediment and whatnot. I know from my own plants that preservation of deceased material in warm, humid environments for more than even a couple of hours is problematic. This means that the existential history of many aroids and other life forms can have proceeded along for eons under the fossil radar. Is this a way of teasing out some of the secret history of the living world?

I am intrigued by your methodology. This thread also meshes with our other recent discussion of the threatened-species nature of taxonomists, since you seem to rely on inferences based on traditional taxonomy. Maybe if young potential botanists think that there's more to it than pressing and cataloging dry old plant parts they would more readily sign up. Also, funding is nine parts show biz, so conjectures like this might stir up a few bucks for deserving researchers.

Please keep me (us) updated on your thinking.

Ted.
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