/   Home   /   Newsroom   /   Research News

Ancient Flower Fossil Points to Core Eudicot Boom 99 Million Years Ago

Nov 14, 2018     Email"> PrintText Size


Lijinganthus revoluta embedded in a Myanmar amber (Image by NIGPAS) 

About 140 years ago, Charles Darwin seemed to be bothered by evidence suggesting the sudden occurrence of numerous angiosperms in the mid-Cretaceous. Since Darwin's theory of evolution implies that all organisms should increase gradually, the sudden appearance of angiosperms would have represented a headache in his theory. 

Therefore, the sudden occurrence of numerous angiosperms (if seen by Darwin as "the origin of angiosperms") would rightfully have been mysterious and abominable to him. 

Over more than a century of study, however, people have found many angiosperms dating to earlier periods, suggesting the origin of angiosperms was much earlier than the mid-Cretaceous. So what was the phenomenon that bothered Darwin so much? 

A group led by Prof. WANG Xin from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology (NIGPAS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences may have an answer. In the Nov. 13, 2018 online issue of Scientific Reports, the scientists describe a flower, Lijinganthus revoluta, embedded in Burmese amber dating to 99 million years ago (Ma). The fossil is exquisite and complete, including all parts of a perfect pentamerous flower, namely, the calyx, corolla, stamens, and gynoecium, and belongs to the Pentapetalae of Core Eudicots. 

Together with contemporaneous flowers and fruits, Lijinganthus indicates that Core Eudicots flourished on Earth about 100 Ma. Although this group can be dated back to the Barremian (about 125 Ma) by their characteristic tricolpate pollen grains, Eudicots did not dominate vegetation until about 20 million years later (mid-Cretaceous). 

Accompanying this Core Eudicot Boom, Gnetales and Bennettitales underwent rapid decline. Apparently, what bothered Darwin was not the assumed "origin of angiosperms" but a Core Eudicot Boom! According to current knowledge of the fossil record, angiosperms originated much earlier.

[video:20181114-Ancient Flower Fossil Points to Core Eudicot Boom 99 Million Years Ago]
3D view of Lijinganthus revoluta (Video by NIGPAS)
(Editor: LI Yuan)

Related Articles


Fossils Reveal Diverse Mesozoic Pollinating Lacewings

Sep 17, 2018

A research group led by Prof. WANG Bo from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology has provided new insight into the niche diversity, chemical communication, and defense mechanisms of Mesozoic pollinating insects. They reported 27 well-prese...


Rare Baby Snake Fossil Found in Amber from Age of Dinosaurs

Jul 19, 2018

Chinese researchers found rare baby snake fossil in amber from age of dinosaurs. The fossils were found in 99-million-year-old amber deposits that have already yielded other amazing treasures, including dinosaur feathers, baby birds and lizards, along ...

fossil;modelling;Oligocene;paleoclimate;temporal;spatial heterogeneity;Eurasia

Spatial Heterogeneity Exists in Climate Change Patterns of Oligocene

Jun 08, 2018

Researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden and University of Bristol have compiled a database of 149 Oligocene macro-fossil floras across the mid-high latitudes of Eurasia. They found that there was a spatial heterogeneity of climate chan...

Contact Us

Copyright © 2002 - Chinese Academy of Sciences