A flower fossil dating back 140 million years found in Spain: Magnolias, forever!

A flower fossil dating back 140 million years found in Spain: Magnolias, forever!
A flower fossil dating back 140 million years found in Spain: Magnolias, forever!

Forty-six years after having welcomed his guest at the undress, it is a tomb still abundantly flowered which unfortunately sees Claude François eating the dandelions by the root. Just tribute to the one who celebrated “for ever” these Magnolias, which scientists tell us today were undoubtedly the very…

Forty-six years after having welcomed his guest at the undress, it is a tomb still abundantly flowered which unfortunately sees Claude François eating the dandelions by the root. Just tribute to the one who celebrated “for ever” these Magnolias which scientists tell us today were undoubtedly the very first flower to bloom on Earth. Compiled by Mario Vallejo-Marin, professor of evolutionary biology at the Swedish University of Uppsala, this work is in fact based on one of the rare plant fossils at our disposal. Found in Spain, this aquatic plant is around 140 million years old and presents all the trappings and multiple petals. By also studying the characteristics of 800 of its still living descendants, an international team of botanists managed to draw up a composite portrait of the mysterious original flower.

The sex life of plants

If, however, there is one subject on which no consensus seems to emerge, it is of course the origin of this world. Did he have one sex, or two? Even though flowers are, for plants, nothing other than their sexual organs, Vallejo-Marin then evokes the bisexual hypothesis. Coincidentally, it is in New Caledonia that one of the oldest lineages of these shrubs still flourishes in the form of Amborella. “We now have a fairly precise idea of ​​what the first flowers looked like, but we know relatively little about how they appeared on Earth. Nor on the stages of their evolution, while waiting for the discovery of new fossils which will perhaps make it possible to fill the black hole ranging from 250 to 140 million years ago. »

Scent of carrion

As someone else, in this case Montherlant, would say, “smell is the intelligence of flowers”. Means of communication between them, but also intended to attract the pollinating barge. A doctoral student in plant biology at the Research Institute for Development (IRD), Lydie Messado Kamga will have put her nose into some of the 350,000 species of flowering plants beautifying – or not – our planet. Specific chemical compounds, these scents are first and foremost a promise of reward for insects dreaming of gathering nectar (sugars) or pollen (proteins). A strategic palette of honeyed scents such as lavender, lily and hyacinths on which butterflies, bees and bumblebees are sure to flock. “Let us repeat, plants produce these scents for the sole purpose of ensuring their reproduction, and therefore their survival. For some, it is also a way of ensuring their defense by dissuading herbivores and florivores from approaching. »

Necessarily very suggestive and personal, human perception of these perfumes will still be able to distinguish plants (Rafflesia, Araceae and certain orchids) conversely mimicking odors associated with organic decomposition. Among other scents of carrion, urine, feces or rotten meat immediately captivate the famous Shit Fly. But then, why do some flowers smell neither love nor death? “In most cases, these are those pollinated by the wind, for example hazel or corn. Discreet and uncolored flowers. »

-

-

NEXT Good deal – The Netatmo connected object Connected thermostatic heads for radiators Additional “5-star” valve at €59.99 (-22%)