The evolution of habit in Tempskya




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1. The genus Tempskya Corda, of Upper Cretaceous age in western America, is characterized by a markedly dichotomous solenostelic stem system sheathed in a felt of its own adventitious roots. A composite stemlike structure is thus formed which has been termed a false stem. 2. As primary bases for the discussion, it is assumed that the false stem is a composite "organ" analogous to a true stem in certain respects; that form is influenced by habit, and that lack of perfect correlation is indicative of a structural lag; and that the false stem is much more plastic than the true stem and, in consequence, a close correlation of habit and internal structure is to be expected. 3. Arguments favoring a subterranean and obliquely ascending habit for these false stemmed types are presented. Likewise, arguments suggesting an erect treefern-like habit for the radially symmetrical false stems, and a climbing habit for the dorsiventral ones are given. It is believed that the available evidence favors the erect and the liana-like habits. 4. Assuming a radial Urform, for which there is ample justification both in theoretical morphology and in the Paleozoic record, the dorsiventral morphology of fern stems may be regarded as developed towards the close of the Paleozoic as an adaptation to rigorous climates which are known to have produced striking changes in the organic landscape. 5. From one of these early dorsiventral types with a dichotomous stem system, Tempskya may have been derived through the development of the scandent and tree-climbing habit, aided by the production of a mass of adventitious roots. Thus the false stem could be developed. 6. It follows that the more primitive habit in Tempskya is logically the climbing one reflected by the dorsiventral false stem. Old age of individuals may have been characterized by self-saprophytism and finally epiphytism. 7. The radial forms, it is believed, were developed from these dorsiventral climbing types as a result of the assumption of the free, upright habit. This may have been accidental or the result of a progressive increase in rigidity of the false stem due to increase in true stem size.

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The evolution of habit in Tempskya
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