Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have discovered a flashing flower locked in Burmese amber, which belongs to the middle Cretaceous. The flower has been frozen for almost 100 million years and is the first of its genus and species to be recognized by science.
The discovery was published in the Journal of the Texas Botanical Research Institute by researchers at OSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture who named the new flower Valviloculus pleristaminis.
The flower is a member of the angiosperm, a group of plants that reproduce through the synthesis of sperm, including the ovum and the ovum, respectively, from the ovary. The ovary grows into a seed and the ovary into a fruit.
They have roots, stalks, leaves, and a flower where the eggs develop. There are several angiosperms described by the specimens locked in Burmese amber, this new species is only two millimeters (0.08 inches) wide at the small edge of the flower. Despite its modest size, its flowers have an astonishing 50 stamens in a spiral arrangement with entrails (which produce pollen) pointing toward the sky.
Professor and amber specimen expert George Poinar Junior from the OSU College of Science said in a statement, “It’s not a Christmas flower, but it’s a beauty, especially considering its part of a forest that existed 100 million years ago.” “Despite being so small, the detail is still surprising. Our specimen was probably part of a bunch of plants with many similar flowers, probably some females.”
This little new flower answers the big questions about the earth that geologists have long debated. It was first bound to the amber back when the continental Gondwana was intact, but part of it (known as the Western Burma Block) broke and flowed 6437 kilometers (4,000 miles), now known as Southeast Asia. There was controversy when this section was broken up, with some ideas saying it was about 200 million years ago and others saying 500 million years ago.
It is widely acknowledged that angiosperms like these flowers first developed and diversified about 100 million years ago, which tells us that the western Burma block could not have broken away from Gondwana this time. Poinar says this proves that the date of departure from the continent must be much later than the current estimate proposed by geologists.