Newly discovered fossil may be answer to Darwin’s ‘hateful’ mystery

Scientists in China said they found the oldest flower bud in the fossil record, Finally aligning the fossil evidence with genetic data suggesting that flowering plants, or angiosperms, evolved tens of millions of years earlier than we first thought.

The team hopes their discovery will help.»relieves pain«About a disturbing centuries-old mystery once called by Charles Darwin»hateful«.

If it was the oldest unmistakable fossil flower It is no more than 130 million years oldHow did angiosperms begin to dominate ecosystems After only 20-30 million years? How did they develop such a large variety so quickly?

It was a mystery that troubled Darwin greatly, but he never found the answers he wanted. But in the past few years, some important pieces have popped into place.

In 2016, scientists in China announced the discovery «perfect flowerIt dates back to the Jurassic period, over 145 million years ago.

It is called a petrified plant ioanthus, not only petals, but also had the sepals (the leafy part at the base of the bud), as well as the male and female reproductive parts, including the ovary similar to modern flowers.

in 2018, Another petrified flower was found in China, this one is called NanjinganthusIt was about 174 million years old. Like a modern flowering plant, its seeds were completely surrounded by an ovary.

However, not all botanists are convinced that these are true angiosperms. Some argue that these plants are too primitive to be considered flowers, while others believe that their skeletons are as well. Too complex for gymnosperms, an older type of plant with unclosed seeds and lacking a flower, like conifers.

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The new petrified flower bud found in China is called Florigerminis Jurassica, could be the transition that researchers are looking for. It was found in a deposit dating back more than 164 million years, and is still in excellent condition.

The stem of the plant is associated not only with the flower bud, but also with the fruit and leafy twig — a trio of data is particularly rare. Below, the arrow indicates the flower bud, the upper right represents the body of the fruit, and the lower right image shows the bud.

Florigerminis Jurassica. (NIGPAS)

Because flowers are minute structures, they are difficult to find in pre-Cretaceous fossils. Previous attempts to reveal the origin of flowering plants have been described as an «unbroken record of failure».

F. Jurassica It is a unique discovery. not even Nanjinganthus It is found with an intact flower bud, just a flower.

fruit on F. Jurassica It adds further support to the idea that this is, in fact, an early angiosperm, not a gymnosperm.

No doubt there will be some experts who disagree, but the authors Think Their findings require «a rethinking of the evolution of angiosperms.»

The study was published in Geological Society, London, Special Publications.

Olga Dmitrieva

Любитель алкоголя. Возмутитель спокойствия. Интроверт. Студент. Любитель социальных сетей. Веб-ниндзя. Поклонник Бэкона. Читатель

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