By dating fossils of pollen and beetles

03-Apr-2020 09:29

“There’s much more out there to be discovered,” she says.“One of the reasons this is exciting is it gives us another hint of what the interactions between plants and insects actually were in a time that is very long ago.” C.#earth— The Jucktion (@jucktion) August 16, 2018“Our finding indicates a very ancient origin of beetle pollination of cycads at least in the Early Jurassic, long before the [emergence and spread] of flowering plants and their pollinators — such as bees and butterflies — later in the Cretaceous or later.”According to the paleontologist, even older beetle pollinators of cycads, dating back to the Jurassic Period, could be uncovered.In addition, Cai is confident that the same Myanmar deposit could yield larger cycad fossils as well, such as fossilized leaves.Study coauthor Chenyang Cai, a paleobiologist affiliated with the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in China and the University of Bristol in the UK, suspected that the group of beetles called boganiids he’d seen in stone fossils dating from about 160 million to 200 million years ago were candidates for pollinating ancient plants based on the shape of their large mandibles and because similar beetles pollinate modern cycads these days.So when his colleague and study coauthor Diying Huang of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology brought Cai a fossil of Burmese amber that Huang had purchased from Myanmar locals at the Chinese-Myanmar border that appeared to contain such a beetle, Cai was elated.By continuing to use this site, you consent to the use of cookies.We use cookies to offer you a better experience, personalize content, tailor advertising, provide social media features, and better understand the use of our services.

by dating fossils of pollen and beetles-58

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This particular beetle fossil was discovered in Burmese amber recovered from the Cretaceous biota found in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State.The amber just might give him the detail he’d been searching for.Cai cut and polished the specimen to get a closer look and realized that the 2-millimeter-long beetle had large mandibles and extremely long mouthparts called maxillary palps—features characteristic of pollinators.Cycads are a group of “unusual evergreen gymnosperms” dating back to the Mesozoic Era, which stretches between 252 million and 66 million years ago and is divided into the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.

cousins, cycads are non-flowering plants that bear their seeds in the form of cones.

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