Flowers in geology: Oldest pollen in the world discovered

Flowers in geology: Oldest pollen in the world discovered

We’ve come across another fantastic floral discovery from the world of geology. Some scientists have discovered, from fossils, that flowers first bloomed some 100 million years before previously discovered. That means we’ve had beautiful flowers on Planet Earth for an unfathomable length of time.

Tiny Forget me notGeologist Peter Hochuli found an interesting soil sample while collecting in Norway. He’d found what looked like pollen spores from the Cretaceous period, but in a core sample that dated back to the middle Triassic period.

(In case you don’t know, before humanity walked the Earth, there were vast, long periods of time with fancy names that geologists base on what rocks, fossil and sediment were doing at the time.)

Anyway, back to the pollen. That created a puzzle, as there was a 100 million year gap between the oldest previously known pollen and these. At first Dr. Hochuli thought it was a contaminant, but careful study has revealed that it just isn’t so. Flowering plants are now known to date back to 240 million years ago.

Can you imagine?

As the geologist now turns his studies towards finding the origin of flowering plants, we can only sit there and wonder at the scale of things. In the epoch when the first small dinosaurs began to appear, there were flowers, even though we don’t know much about them and the records are spotty. Ferns and mosses grew, but until now we didn’t know that anything flowered.

So when you fill your home with beautiful holiday flowers this December, think for a moment about what all this means. The lovely flowers you use for decor and gifts have their roots in a period where hardly anything walked upright.

Now that is truly a legacy.

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