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I thank the authors for carefully considering the comments of the reviewers and for making such adjustments as were possible or as seemed prudent to them. Based on their responses to the reviews and on the minor changes made in the manuscript, I believe this paper is ready for publication.
This is an excellent contribution and the needed revisions are few. Reviewer 1 has annotated a copy of the manuscript. His comments are in red and so easily seen. Nearly all are editorial in nature.
Reviewer 2 offers a small number of suggestions, some that require only the addition of citations or clarifications at particular points, and others that the authors should consider regarding improvements in illustrative or tabular material.
Overall, however, this paper is very close to ready for publication. It will not require additional review unless the authors make changes of significance from the original submission. Therefore of course, and as usual, please explain any changes made (or suggestions from reviewers that were not implemented) in the covering letter that accompanies the resubmission.
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The manuscript includes sufficient introduction and background to demonstrate how the work fits into the broader field of knowledge and clearly states how the research closes a knowledge gap.
The structure conforms to Peerj standards.
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Well done! I commend the authors for their extensive and thorough work and their well written manuscript, making reviewing easy. Great contribution.
This paper describes two new fossil taxa, one from the Late Cretaceous of North America, and the other from the Miocene of Europe, that enhance the fossil record of Saururuaceae. The finding is convincing and significant as it represents a much older record than previously known (Eocene). The material is nicely illustrated and complemented by additional data from the Eocene fossils and modern relatives.
l. 208 – stratigraphic information is needed for S. stoobensis.
l.280-286: This point (the small size of the grains meaning they are likely being missed in palynological analyses) was also made by Smith & Stockey (2007b) and they should be cited here.
Table 1/2 – Paleogene North American Saururus is known from many individual flowers and fruits as well as the infloresence and dispersed pollen. (These are referred to in Smith’s thesis, as well as in Smith 2013 (The fossil record of non-commelinid monocots) as the fruits were initially described as alismatalean).
Table 1 – aside from the modern distribution – is a bit redundant with Table 2 since Table 2 is divided into geographic regions as well. These two tables could be combined.
Table 2 – Consistency is needed in referring to periods/epochs as early/late (referring to time) or upper/lower (stratigraphic reference). I don’t think that it matters which is used, just be consistent about it.
Fig 1 – I suggest keeping “Protosaururus” in quotations since it is not a formally recognized name.
Fig 2- looks a little bit washed out? The pollen grains would benefit from increased contrast.
Fig 8 – what is the significance of stars vs. circles on the figure?
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