Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fresh bunch of old flowers

03.05.2002


Fossil plants form new branch in flower family tree.


The pick of the new group of flowering plants.
© Science



Fossils recently plucked from rocks in China are the first representatives of a hitherto unknown group of flowering plants, say their discoverers Ge Sun of Jilin University and colleagues1.

They also add to growing evidence that flowering plants, which now dominate the land, originally emerged from the water.


The researchers call the group Archaefructaceae. Its members probably flourished in lakes and ponds about 125 million years ago while dinosaurs walked the Earth. They appear to have grown like waterlilies and looked like a cross between ferns and seaweed, having no petals or sepals.

The group is more closely related to the flowering plants, or angiosperms, than to the palm-like cycads, ginkgo and other ancient flora also alive at the time. But the Archaefructaceae are no missing link in plant evolution. Rather, they are an evolutionary dead end - the plants have no known descendants.

The fossils are of two species; Sun’s team names them Archaefructus sinensis and Archaefructus lianogensis. They are exquisitely preserved, giving a detailed picture of Archaefructus’ life history.

The feathery leaves are on long stalks, which are shorter towards the top of the plants’ stems. The stems seem too thin to have stood upright, suggesting that Archaefructus was aquatic, and swellings at the base of the leaves may have given the plants added buoyancy.

The flowers probably developed above the water, as their pollen seems best suited to wind or insect dispersal: the pollen-producing anthers reached maturity before the females carpels to avoid self fertilization.

References
  1. Sun, G. et al. Archaefructaceae, a new basal angiosperm family. Science, 296, 899 - 904, (2002).

CHRISTOPHER SURRIDGE | © Nature News Service

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>