Fourth Anniversary of Everything Dinosaur
This week marks the start of our fifth year in business, supply dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed merchandise all over the world. Most of our team members have been involved in palaeontology in some form or another for too long for them to care to remember, but Everything Dinosaur has its official fourth birthday a few days ago.
The occasion was marked by extra special biscuits available at the coffee breaks, we really know how to push the boat out. Petty cash was a bit low after we splashed out on a works outing to the “Dinosaurs Live” event earlier on in the month.
The traditional gift to mark a fourth anniversary is flowers, or as palaeontologists refer to them – angiosperms. The angiosperms or flowering plants are the most recent major group to evolve, having their origins sometime in the Jurassic. They have become highly diversified in a relatively short period of geological time. Today there are something like 250,000 species belonging to approximately 450 families and most of our food crops are angiosperms.
The oldest flowering plant known in the fossil record is Archaefructus from north-eastern China. This plant has been dated to approximately 140 million years ago (Berriasian/Valanginian faunal stages of the Cretaceous). It has the main, distinguishing features of a flowering plant, with fruits enclosed in a female reproductive structure (carpels) that developed from a pollinated flower.
Say it with Flowers Archaefructus sinensis
Picture Credit: National Museum of Natural History
This fossil was found in mudstone, indicating that this particular plant, lived in shallow water, with the stalks being supported by the water. The plant may have had a similar habit as a water lily. The scientific name for this species Archaefructus sinensis means “ancient fruit from China”.
An Illustration of Archaefructus
Picture Credit: Associated Press
It may not have been the most spectacular flower to have evolved, but its significance in the fossil record is duly noted. It is fitting we should mark the end of our fourth year with an article on such an important fossil.