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World's earliest fossil flower unearthed in Nanjing

Updated: 2018-12-19 14:08:07

( chinadaily.com.cn )

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A researcher shows the flower fossils at Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, Dec 18, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

Scientists have found new evidence of the world's earliest fossil flower from specimens unearthed in the eastern China city of Nanjing, dating the origin of flowering plants to 174 million years ago, or the Early Jurassic.

An international research team led by scientists from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology has made an observation of the specimens, which contain 198 individual flowers preserved on 34 slabs. They named the flower, which has four to five petals and looks like modern plum blossom, Nanjinganthus.

The research pushed the origin of flowering plants 50 million years earlier than the record of previously available fossils, which suggested flowering plants appeared about 125 million years ago in the Cretaceous, an era during which many insects such as bees appeared.

The Early Jurassic is known as the period that saw dinosaurs dominating the planet. The discovery reshapes the current understanding of the evolution of flowers.

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