The Molecular Fossil Record of Oleanane and Its Relation to Angiosperms

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Science  05 Aug 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5173, pp. 768-771
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5173.768


Oleanane has been reported in Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary source rocks and their related oils and has been suggested as a marker for flowering plants. Correspondence of oleanane concentrations relative to the ubiquitous microbial marker 17α-hopane with angiosperm diversification (Neocomian to Miocene) suggests that oleanane concentrations in migrated petroleum can be used to identify the maximum age of unknown or unavailable source rock. Rare occurrences of pre-Cretaceous oleanane suggest either that a separate lineage leads to the angiosperms well before the Early Cretaceous or that other plant groups have the rarely expressed ability to synthesize oleanane precursors.

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