Oily fossils provide clues to the evolution of flowers

Daffodils, tulips, roses and other flowers are so much a part of our daily lives that we take them for granted.

But to evolutionary scientists, the question of how and when flowering plants appeared on Earth has gone unanswered for more than a century.

Mosses were the first plants to emerge on land some 425 million years ago, followed by firs, ginkgoes, conifers and several other varieties.

According to the fossil record, flowering plants abruptly appeared out of nowhere about 130 million years ago.

Where did they come from, and how could they have evolved so suddenly without any transitional fossils linking them to other ancient plant species?

"An abominable mystery" is how nineteenth-century naturalist Charles Darwin referred to the origin of flowering plants, and the puzzle remains as controversial today as ever.

Now a team of Stanford geochemists has entered the debate with evidence that flowers may have evolved 250 million years ago - long before the first pollen grain appeared in the fossil record.

"Our research indicates that the descendants of flowering plants may have originated during the Permian period, between 290 and 245 million years ago," says J. Michael Moldowan, research professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences.

"We based our findings on an organic compound called oleanane, which we found in the fossil record," he adds.

Moldowan and his collaborators, research associate Jeremy Dahl and graduate student David A. Zinniker, will present their findings at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Diego on April 2, during a symposium titled, "Biogeochemistry of Terrestrial Organic Matter."


Oleanane is produced by many common flowering plants as a defense against insects, fungi and various microbial invaders. But the chemical is absent in other seed plants, such as pines and gingkoes.

Using gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy, Moldowan and his colleagues have

Contact: Mark Shwartz
Stanford University

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Ghost crab fossils haunt area beaches
2. Scientists debate meaning of 40-million-year-old primate fossils in Nature
3. Dinosaur, crab fossils reveal ecosystem secrets
4. Study of fossils found in arctic shows plants more developed at earlier time
5. Max-Planck doctoral student discovers living fossils
6. New process by Temple grad student can place loose fossils back into the strata or determine fakes
7. UCLA scientists, colleagues substantiate biological origin of earliest fossils
8. New fossils suggest whales and hippos are close kin
9. Digging for genetic fossils: Hutchinson Center researchers solve structure of ancient biological molecule
10. New fossils may be first human ancestors out of Africa, say Science authors
11. Geologists at UNC-CH discover states most spectacular fossils

Post Your Comments:

(Date:4/14/2016)... TEL AVIV, Israel , April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... in Behavioral Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the ... has already assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s ... for BioCatch, on the heels of the deployment of ... In addition, BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has ... CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to ... the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software ... the company. Dr. Bready served as CEO ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... India , March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer ... Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & IT, ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... industry is expected to reach USD 26.76 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design ... Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors ... and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company ... to the medical community, has closed its Series A ... Nunez . "We have received a commitment ... capital we need to meet our current goals," stated ... us the runway to complete validation on the current ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Regulatory Compliance Associates® Inc. ... a free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: Getting to Root Cause. ... at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a major concern to the ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016 ... that will allow them to produce up to ... from one lot within one week. These high-quality, ... time laboriously preparing cells and spend more time ... possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: