Friday, April 1, 2011
The Origins of Flowering Plants
This 125-million-year-old fossil is the oldest known eudicot -- a more comprehensive term embracing what I was taught to call dicots -- the largest group of flowering plants. It seems remarkably like a modern plant, and the discoverers say this pushes the origins of flowering plants back several million years before this fossil, to give forms like this times to evolve. Discovered in China, it is called Leefructus mirus. The specimen is 16 centimeters tall, or 6.3 inches, and it seems to belong to the same group as modern buttercups.