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GNETOPHYTES & ALVAREZSAURS
On gnetophytes etc, Nick L asked...
> Do either of these guys have any fossil record at all?
Yes, gnetophyte pollen is known from the Triassic and the Cretaceous
and is apparently near-indistinguishable from that of _Ephedra_. Work
on gnetophyte phylogeny indicates that _Welwitschia_ diverged during
the Cretaceous I believe (the ucmp website had a good section on
gnetophyte fossils but wasn't working last time I checked). If the
Triassic record is valid then, as some have argued, it might be that
angiosperms originated in the Triassic.
Fond as I am of Nick's suggestion that alvarezsaurids might have been
ant-eaters.. Nick, have you looked at a tarsipedid (honey possum)
skull? Obviously lacks the postcranial specialisations seen in
alvarezsaurids and extant myrmecophagous forms but the skull
morphology is superficially similar.
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