[ Mission Statement ]
This site is designed as a learning tool for advanced college students of botany, ecology, entomology, evolution, geology, integrative biology, paleontology, and systematics. Gigantopteroid Dot Org is a non-profit library resource for teachers and research specialists interested in the origin of angiosperms and certain clades of holometabolous insects.
Research perspectives on the origin of flowering plants are discussed in three essays. Coevolution between insect and seed plant at the level of their respective cis-regulatory modules and developmental tool kits is proposed to explain the origin of angiosperms and the flower, and evolution of pollination mutualisms between species of the "Big Five" holometabolous insect orders and flowering plants and gymnosperms.
A flower of Papaver orientale (Papaveraceae, Ranunculales, Ranunculanae) was photographed in 1975 by John M. Miller, Ph.D. using Kodachrome ASA 25 film. One of the oldest fossil eudicots in North America belongs to Papaveraceae.
Despite a paucity of macrofossil evidence leading to a currently held opinion by some paleobotanists (P. S. Herendeen, E. M. Friis, K. R. Pedersen, P. R. Crane, 2017, Palaeobotanical redux: revisiting the age of angiosperms Nature Plants 3: 17015) that flowering plants evolved in the early Cretaceous or late Jurassic Period, stem group flowering plants and close relatives were probably one or more of several major groups of seed plants indigenous to boreal, desert, and tropical paleoenvironments of Permo-triassic Pangaea.
After reading and studying the vast scientific literature and popular news stories dealing with the origin of angiosperms, students and scholars should discover a pervasive tenor and tone in writings. Some arguments may be construed as absurd or sophomoric, and several hypotheses are bizarre and even comic when illuminated by tenets of evolutionary-development (evo-devo), predictive molecular-phylogenetics and Bayesian computational simulations, and mathematical scaling studies of the perianth.
Homologies of the angiosperm flower with certain gymnosperm reproductive short- (spur-) shoots cannot be disproven by mathematical scaling studies of detached floral organs. Flowers are almost certainly not evolutionary novelties since every Bayesian computational simulation supports a Triassic (or older) age estimate for angiosperms. Paleozoic protoflowers are predictable by tool kit evo-devo.
Solid evidence from biochemistry, biomechanics, coevolutionary studies, developmental biology, genetics, paleobotany, paleoclimatology, paleoecology, paleoentomology, physiology, and systematics, published in peer reviewed international journals and books, is necessary to support a coevolutionary hypothesis on the origin of flowering plants. I provide citations and references to articles, books, and book chapters published in more than 100 scientific journals used in my research to support proposals discussed in the three essays.
Teachers in K-12 and college settings might find background materials and some of the content on my web site of interest. "Core concepts and competencies" underpinning my web site's content are consistent with The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) and Botanical Society of America (BSA) undergraduate student learning objectives, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and United States National Science Foundation (NSF) Vision and Change Final Report.
We adopt standard scientific policy on the teaching of evolution. A paraphyletic (or polyphyletic) "origin" of stem group angiosperms potentially involving insect- or wind-pollination, natural interspecific hybridization, and paleopolyploidy is proposed here, but in zones of sympatry from potentially widespread seed plant populations indigenous to coastal and extrabasinal, upland habitats of Pangaea (or pre-Pangaea). This premise eliminates any of the southwest Pacific Ocean archipelagos, island arcs, spreading centers, or now submerged continental cratons from consideration as an angiosperm "cradle."
Library and Classroom Resources are sources of books and book chapters, key words, phrases, journal titles, and topics that help researchers, teachers, and students to more efficiently conduct personal computer searches in Google Scholar or elsewhere for published work on the origin of angiosperms. Our family web page, Gigantopteroid Dot Org, provides homology assessments, a data matrix, and Student Problems for use in phylogenetics courses.