New study unravels the mystery of the origin of flowering plants
Flowering plants are much more ancient than indicated by their fossil record, according to a study lead by the University of Fribourg.
Flowering plants emerge spectacularly in the fossil record in the middle of the Cretaceous, the last era of the age of dinosaurs, and rapidly dominate the diversity of plants on land. However, genomic data suggest a much earlier origin, as early as the Jurassic or even the Triassic, the dawn of the age of dinosaurs around one hundred million years earlier. No fossils of flowering plants are known from the Jurassic, not even fossil pollens. This shocking discrepancy has been an enduring mystery for scientists.
Daniele Silvestro, Christine D. Bacon, Wenna Ding, Qiuyue Zhang, Philip C. J. Donoghue, Alexandre Antonelli, Yaowu Xing, 2021,
Fossil data support a pre-Cretaceous origin of flowering plants
Nature Ecology & Evolution, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-01387-8