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Newly discovered fossilized flower bud could be the answer to Darwin's 'abominable' mystery

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Scientists in China say they have found the oldest flower bud in the fossil record, finally aligning the fossil evidence with the genetic data suggesting flowering plants, or angiosperms, evolved tens of millions of years earlier than we initially thought.

The team hopes their discovery will help "ease the pain" around a nagging, centuries-old mystery that Charles Darwin once called "abominable".

If the oldest unambiguous fossil flower is no older than 130 million years old, then how come angiosperms began to dominate ecosystems just 20 to 30 million years later? How had they evolved such great diversity that quickly?

It was a puzzle that had bothered Darwin greatly, but he never found the answers he wanted. In the past few years, however, some crucial pieces have fallen into place.



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