Coiffard, C. & Gomez, B. 2009: The rise to dominance of the angiosperm kingdom: dispersal, habitat widening and evolution during the Late Cretaceous of Europe. Lethaia, Vol. 43, pp. 164–169.
The earliest fossil records of angiosperms in Europe occur in the Barremian and consist of freshwater wetland plants. From the Barremian onwards, angiosperms show a stepwise widening of their ecological range with the result that they inhabited most environments by the Cenomanian. Nevertheless, most angiosperms had still restricted habitats, while a few angiosperm trees were confined to disturbed environments, such as channel margins. A Wagner’s Parsimony Method analysis performed on a fossil plant and locality database from the Turonian to the Campanian of Europe indicates continued decrease in richness of ferns and gymnosperms compared with angiosperms, turnover between conifer and palm trees in freshwater-related swamps at about the Cenomanian/Turonian boundary, and spreading of angiosperm trees through the floodplains. The ecological range of angiosperm trees was increased, being recorded in channel margins from the Cenomanian and spreading over floodplains (e.g. Platanaceae) and swamps (e.g. Arecaceae) by the Campanian. These new ecological ranges and successions went with innovative architectures, such as dicot trees and palm trees. Most living core angiosperm families had their earliest representatives in the Late Cretaceous, which should be considered as the dawn of modern angiosperm forests. □Core angiosperms, Europe, Late Cretaceous, palms, Wagner’s Parsimony Method.