Review History

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  • The initial submission of this article was received on February 22nd, 2017 and was peer-reviewed by 2 reviewers and the Academic Editor.
  • The Academic Editor made their initial decision on April 18th, 2017.
  • The first revision was submitted on May 10th, 2017 and was reviewed by the Academic Editor.
  • The article was Accepted by the Academic Editor on May 17th, 2017.

Version 0.2 (accepted)

· May 17, 2017 · Academic Editor


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.

Version 0.1 (original submission)

· Apr 18, 2017 · Academic Editor

Minor Revisions

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.


Basic reporting

The title and abstract are informative and clearly reflect the contents.
The manuscript is clearly written in professional English.
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.
Figures are relevant, high quality, well labeled, and described.
Relevant prior literature is appropriately referenced,
Figures/plates/tables are necessary, well-organized, and effective in clarifying scientific points.
References are adequate and necessary.

Experimental design

The research design is well defined and described.
Rigorous investigation performed to a high technical standard.
Methods are described in sufficient detail to be reproducible by other investigators.

Validity of the findings

The paper describes original, novel, primary research.
Data and interpretation are clearly separated.
Conclusions are stated clearly and limited to supporting results.
Hypotheses/Speculation are clearly identified and labeled as such.
Interpretations and conclusions are adequately supported by the data.

Additional comments

Well done! I commend the authors for their extensive and thorough work and their well written manuscript, making reviewing easy. Great contribution.

Reviewer 2 ·

Basic reporting

no comment

Experimental design

no comment

Validity of the findings

no comment

Additional comments

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.

Specific comments:

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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