The beautifully-preserved fossil found in amber from 99 million years ago belongs to the large, diverse Pentepetalae clade:
Together with contemporaneous flowers and fruits, the researchers say, Lijinganthus indicates that core eudicots flourished on Earth about 100 million years ago, although did not dominate vegetation until about 20 million years later, the mid-Cretaceous.
“Various molecular clocks indicate that angiosperms and eudicots have a significantly earlier origin than the earliest fossil record indicates,” the authors write.Nick Carne, “Darwin’s ‘abominable mystery’ more apparent than real” at Cosmos
A perfect flower in a mid-Cretaceous (early Cenomanian) Myanmar amber is described as Lijinganthus revoluta gen. et sp. nov. The fossil flower is actinomorphic and pentamerous, including calyx, corolla, stamens, and gynoecium. The sepals are tiny, while the petals are large and revolute. The stamens are dorsifixed, filamentous, and each has a longitudinally dehiscing bisporangiate anther. The gynoecium is in the centre of the flower, composed of three fused carpels with a stout style. Lijinganthus revoluta gen. et sp. nov. demonstrates a great resemblance to the flowers of Pentapetalae (Eudicots), adding new information to the enigmatic early evolutionary history of Pentapetalae and Eudicots.Abstract: [access] More. (open access)
The researchers suggest that their find shows that flowers originated less suddenly than Darwin had thought. A friend in the field notes, however, that this fossil is not unique; many angiosperm fossils from the early Cretaceous period (roughly 145 mya to 66 mya) have been found. The
“abominable mystery” has always been about why flowering plants are not found in Jurassic period (roughly 199.6 mya to 145.5 mya) and earlier. We still don’t know.
Nice flower though.
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See also: Researchers: Over one hundred-million-year gap between accounts of when flowers originated – “false precision”
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