160-million-year-old fossil flower found in China

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from China some time ago discovered an incredibly old sample of a flower bud of a fossilized plant. This very interesting species, which was not previously known to science, was named Florigerminis jurassica.

Biologists note that the plant was given this name due to the fact that it significantly delays the appearance of flowers. They appeared in the Jurassic period, approximately 145-201 million years ago. The fossil was found in China in a region called Inner Mongolia.

The find is small in size – the width is 2 centimeters and the length is 4.2 cm. The plant from the Jurassic period includes a leaf branch, the stem itself, as well as a bulb-fruit and a small bud that has not yet blossomed. Its size does not exceed three square millimeters.

It is worth paying attention to the fact that gymnosperms were the main plants at that time. The discovered fossil refers to angiosperms, which then, according to preliminary data, simply did not exist. They appeared only in the Cretaceous period, approximately 66-145 million years ago. The find of specialists was proof that they were wrong earlier.

Xin Wang, a specialist from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGPAS), said that everyone was surprised by this fossil, because it is completely different from what is described in modern books.

It is worth noting that in 2018, the 174 million plant, which belongs to the genus Nanjinganthus, was described in detail in the scientific journal eLife. It was also discovered by experts in China.

At the same time, scientists are now trying to establish whether Nanjinganthus can actually be classified as angiosperms. The reason for the doubt is that the flowers are not too complex, so they are difficult to distinguish from the standard leaf structures that are present in gymnosperms.

The presence of a flower bud as well as a fruit in F. Jurassica is beyond doubt. This plant is indeed an angiosperm. The researchers noted that this is the best evidence that the flowers appeared much earlier than expected.


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