one scientist discovered what might be the first flowering plant fossil, Archaefructus liaoningensis.
search for evidence of the first flowering plants in the Hengdaun Mountains of
China, the most biodiverse temperate forest in the world.
mosses, pines, and firs dominated the Earth for 300 million years until
flowering plants became prevalent—but how and when this change occurred
is a mystery.
flowering plants flower and produce the new generation—fruit—that
allows the plant to adapt to a different set of circumstances.
shows how Archaefructus' separate pollen-producing organs and female organs
may have evolved to be joined.
journey and discoveries of early 1900s botanist Ernest H. Wilson, who collected
more than 20,000 plant specimens from China.
hypothesis for how the first flower may have evolved.
botanist who disagrees that Archaefructus
is the first flowering plant and describes how her technique of sifting through
ancient sediments has revealed a 120-million-year-old flower.
another botanist's method of analyzing leaf vein patterns and pollen
structure to reveal clues to plant evolution, and notes that the first pollen
shows up on rocks of the Cretaceous period 134 million years ago.
reports on radioactive decay measurements of ash beds surrounding the Archaefructus fossil site that date it to the early Cretaceous
rather than the Jurassic Period it was first believed to have evolved in.
describes the original method used to organize
the plant family tree—by comparing features of plants—and explains
how plant DNA analysis has rewritten that record.
DNA analysis identifies Amborella trichopoda—a plant only found on New Caledonia—as the oldest living
states that Archaefructus appears older than Amborella based on pollen, leaf, and flower analysis.