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change that was impossible with radially symmetrical flowers. Such clades as the Papilionoideae (legume subfamily), Polygalaceae, and Orchidaceae, among others, demonstrate this coevolution. The success of these clades and especially the Orchidaceae, with its vast number of species, demonstrates the potential of this coevolutionary event.

The evolution of large stony and fleshy fruits and seeds is the last major coevolutionary node of the angiosperms. This is not to say that there were not the occasional attractive fruits produced earlier, but a large radiation of fruit and seed types of the angiosperms occurred during the Paleocene and Eocene. The change in angiosperm fruit size was noted by Tiffney (1984) who associated this change with the radiation of rodents and birds. This coevolutionary node allowed for both the further radiation of the angiosperms and the radiation of the mammals and birds. Stone (1973) noted that there was a tendency to develop animal-dispersed fruit types in the Juglandaceae several times in different clades of this family. Many angiosperm families took advantage of the potential to disperse their fruits and seeds by bird and mammal vectors during the early Tertiary as evidenced by the bursts of the evolution of fruits and seeds during this time (Reid and Chandler, 1933; Manchester, 1994). It is interesting to note that at this same time the angiosperms also were experiencing a radiation of wind-dispersed fruits and seeds (Call and Dilcher, 1992). This radiation of fruit and seed dispersal strategies in the angiosperms, late in their evolution (early Tertiary), is yet one more example of a means to promote outcrossing for the group.


Coevolutionary events are largely responsible for the origin and subsequent nodes of evolution and radiation of the angiosperms. As we begin to find reproductive material of very early angiosperms (Taylor and Hickey, 1990; Sun et al., 1998; Friis et al., 1999), it becomes clear that some or most angiosperms developed bisexual insect-pollinated flowers very early, while some lines also maintained unisexual flowers with abiotic means of pollination (Dilcher, 1979). The coevolution with insects sparked a tremendous potential for plants to outcross by co-opting animals to carry their male gametes (pollen) to other individuals and other populations of the same species.

Each node of angiosperm evolution established genetic systems that favor outcrossing. The showy bisexual flower, the more specialized bilateral flower, and the nutritious nuts and fleshy fruits all are means by which the flowering plants increase their potential for outcrossing. The majority of angiosperm evolution is centered on this increased potential for outcrossing through coevolution with a wide variety of animals. In

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