A structural re-interpretation and revision of the type material of the glossopterid ovuliferous fruitification Scutum from South Africa
Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, University of the Witwatersrand
The Early Permian glossopterid fructification Scutum, described by Edna Plumstead in the 1950s from the Vereeniging locality in the Karoo Basin of South Africa, was one of the first glossopterid seed-bearing organs to be found in organic attachment to Glossopteris leaves. Examination of the type material necessitated a revision of this plant fossil genus and a re-evaluation of described South African species. Key characteristics of the genus are the broad and prominent wing, and a low receptacle length to width ratio (<2:1). Specimens of South African Scutum are currently attributed to three species, from two localities, but display intergrading morphological features that can be reasonably accommodated within a single species, S. leslii. Three-dimensional interpretation and reconstruction of impression fossils of Scutum fructifications preserved in attachment to Glossopteris leaves confirms that the seed-bearing surface of the receptacle faces the adaxial surface of the subtending leaf. The nature of the seed scars on the receptacle and their relationship to the peripheral wing of the fructifications is clarified.
Scutum , Glossopteris , Permian , South Africa , Karoo Basin , fructification