A new type of angiosperm from the Early Cretaceous was discovered in western Liaoning

Lingyuan’s strange pattern specimen. (Courtesy of Wang Xin)

Recently, Biology published a paper by Wang Xin, a researcher at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, entitled “A New Early Cretaceous Flower and Its Enlightenment for Flower Formation”, which provides a new perspective for solving related problems. The article reports a completely different flower fossil from the previous Early Cretaceous angiosperm, Lingyuananthus inexpectus.

100 years ago, British botanists laid the foundation for angiosperm system based on magnolias, whose eccentric indumentum is the most primitive pistil type of angiosperms. This statement has always been favored by many scholars. From the fossil point of view, the central skin of the angiosperm fossils previously discovered in the Early Cretaceous period is almost all exodus. In this way, the doctrine seems to have a certain rationality.

But with the continuous discovery of fossil evidence, two points have aroused the question of botanists: First, the fossil record of angiosperms now recognized by the mainstream botany community is not earlier than the Early Cretaceous, but the diversity of angiosperms in the Yixian group of the early Cretaceous is already very high and illogical; In addition, the morphology of certain early angiosperms exceeded the predictions of the theories proposed by British scholars.

Wang Xin told China Science Daily that there are two reasons for naming it Lingyuan Qibao: First, although Lingyuan Qibao is old (125 million years ago), it does not see the detached heart skin that botanists expect, but on the contrary, it has characteristics that are theoretically considered to be very evolutionary, such as synymous carpels, lower seat ovary, flower tray tubes, and possibly bilateral symmetry. Second, the surface and upper edge of Lingyuan’s flower tray are covered with a number of linear quilt pieces (appendages). The former point shows that the current popular theory of plant evolution is flawed, does not explain the botanical reality well, and needs to be adjusted, while the latter point of revelation is subversive.

Wang Xin pointed out that according to the theory in botany textbooks, the pistil composed of synthymous carpels is healed by the original multiple ecstasy carpels, which is not the most primitive and should not appear in the early history of angiosperms.

The appearance of Lingyuan Wonder in the Early Cretaceous shows that not only was the angiosperm diversity already high at that time, but the pistils among them were likely to be formed by the expansion and depression at the top of the flower shaft.

The previous message implies that angiosperms should have been there before. The latter piece of information is clearly contrary to botanist common sense, but it is likely to be paradoxical. There are two reasons: the German paleobotanist Zimmermann proposed a similar theory more than sixty years ago, but at that time there was a lack of corresponding fossil evidence to support it, and most botanists were intoxicated with the popular botanical theories that made them comfortable, and had no time to take care of any heresy; Today, Ling Yuan’s strange birth completely confirms the prediction of this theory.

For the flower tray mentioned above, it may be a botanical term that everyone is less familiar with. Wang Xin explained that in fact, this thing is often seen in daily life. For example, the sweet and sour part of the apple that everyone loves to eat, sweet and sour, and is rich in nutrients is made of the flower tray in the apple blossom. Lingyuan Wonder let us know about the flower tray and its history. (Source: China Science Daily Cui Xueqin)

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