A 164-million-year-old flower bud has been found in China that could solve Darwin’s ‘hateful’ mystery

Posted:

17 one 2022 21:48 GMT

According to the study authors, this discovery “confirms the presence of angiosperms in the Jurassic and calls for a rethinking of angiosperm evolution.”

Chinese scientists have found a flower bud in a fossil state, whose analysis indicates that flowering plants, or angiosperms, evolved tens of millions of years earlier than initially thought, according to study Published this month in the Geological Society.

The researchers hope the discovery will help solve a mystery that Charles Darwin described at the time as “repugnant” by not finding an answer. The English naturalist wondered that if the oldest fossil flower was no more than 130 million years old, how could it be explained that angiosperms began to dominate ecosystems only 20 or 30 million years later and evolved so rapidly towards such great diversity?

In 2016, Chinese scientists discovered a flower called “Ewanthus” 145 million years ago. Meanwhile, in 2018, another fossilized flower was discovered in China, called Nanjinganthus, 174 million years ago.

However, not all botanists are convinced that these finds are true angiosperms. Some argue that these plants are too primitive to be considered flowers, while others believe their structures are too complex for gymnosperms, an older type of plant with neither sealed seeds nor flower, like conifers.

Thus, the recently found “Florigerminis jurassica” can be considered a desirable angiosperm, since it is perfectly preserved and is more than 164 million years old. The stem of the plant contains not only a bud, but also leaves and fruits.

According to the study authors, this finding “confirms the existence of angiosperms in the Jurassic and calls for a rethinking of angiosperm evolution.”

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