Evidence for Lignin-Like Constituents in Early Silurian (Llandoverian) Plant Fossils

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Science  18 Jul 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4454, pp. 396-397
DOI: 10.1126/science.209.4454.396


Chemical evidence is presented with previously reported morphological features for banded-tube cell types in the earliest known plant fossils associated with stream-deposited sediments. Phenolic aldehydes (p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, vanillin) and aromatic compounds from pyrolysis (2-methoxy-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, methylsyringaldehyde) derived from cellular remains are interpreted as evidence for lignin or lignin-like degradation products. The presence of parallel-aligned banded tubes, with annular to spiral thickenings and occasional end walls, in conjunction with lignin-like constituents fulfill most of the morphological and chemical criteria for cell types that could have functioned as water-conducting cells.