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Flowering Plants' Roots Pushed Back 100M Years

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the carl-sagan-lied-to-me dept.

Earth 63

Rambo Tribble writes "Frontiers in Plant Science has published research which suggests that angiosperms' origins are a lot older than we have thought; 100 million years older, in fact. This puts the roots of these plants in the Triassic, not the Cretaceous, as previously thought."

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Damn (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 10 months ago | (#45014595)

Those are some deep roots. Would hate to have to try to dig those roots out with a trowel.

Re:Damn (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 10 months ago | (#45014729)

Just use your T.A.R.D.I.S. trowel.

Re:Damn (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 10 months ago | (#45014867)

Be aware, however, that side effects of this action can include headaches, nausea, starvation, failure to evolve and a nasty rash of nonexistence.

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45015965)

T.R.O.W.E.L.

Terrain Replacement Operation With Ergonomic Lever

Re:Damn (1)

Jens Egon (947467) | about 10 months ago | (#45014741)

Just buy a cultivator with an optional time trowel extension, and you'll be fine.

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45016075)

Don't forget to bring a trowel.

Re:Damn (1)

bobdehnhardt (18286) | about 10 months ago | (#45016099)

Some deep watering and maybe a little Miracle Gro, I bet we can get those suckers down to the Permian.

But you are forgetting (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | about 10 months ago | (#45014683)

That FSM just makes it look like it is 100 Millon years old...

Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45014759)

Just imagine how old these plants will be in another 50 years!

Re:Imagine... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45014791)

Exactly 243,000,050 years old, obviously.

Thus providing another example of scientific error (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45014809)

Clearly science is always correcting itself, it cannot be infallible, but is prone to mistakes that they are always fixing. A flawed system than cannot be trusted.

Unlike religion, which is never ever proven wrong. That makes it reliable and trustworthy. It's even self-certifying.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 10 months ago | (#45014897)

Yes, let's all worship angiosperms.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (3, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 10 months ago | (#45014963)

Yes, let's all worship angiosperms.

That does have it's merits, for example we can prove they exist and unlike many gods they are nice to have in the house and garden.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 10 months ago | (#45015015)

And just like other gods they seem to be obsessed with sex.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (3, Insightful)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 10 months ago | (#45015405)

Sex with relatives, at that.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45020093)

But I have allergies to your new deities, you insensitive clod!

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (2, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 10 months ago | (#45014999)

Apple trees are angiosperms.

The Tree of Knowledge is an apple tree.

Eris throws an apple in the central Discordian myth.

And outside of that, other trees feature prominently in various myths (Yggdrasil is a yew tree, tree roots resemble the FSM's noodly appendages...)

I think we have a pretty healthy respect for certain angiosperms, even if they're not outright worshipped as a group.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 10 months ago | (#45015291)

Are you sure you aren't mything the point?

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45015419)

You are mythtaken my dear Thir...

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 10 months ago | (#45015947)

That remains entirely open to debate.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 10 months ago | (#45016979)

The Tree of Knowledge is more correctly thought to have been a pomegranate tree, IIRC my bible history class correctly, since apples are relatively new on the world. The bible doesn't actually specify. /nitpick

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 10 months ago | (#45017157)

I think I heard that once! Oh well. Still an angiosperm.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 10 months ago | (#45020607)

There are many suggestions about what the fruit was. The Bible (western Christian version, ignoring things like Book of Enoch) just does not have any description that could help identify it. Apple is a western idea, probably from the similarity in sounds from Latin, but other suggestions are pomegranite, grape, fig, mushroom, and even meat. If one were to take it literally, then it's probably something unique to that one tree alone and not a common species to be found elsewhere.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 10 months ago | (#45017321)

Since yew trees (Taxus) are gymnosperms, that kind of queers your proposed theology, unless you accept the more mainstream doctrine that Yggdrasil is an ash (Fraxinus). Also, don't forget that His Noodly Appendages are derived from wheat and the sacramental beverages are made from barley and grapes.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 10 months ago | (#45017573)

Note to self: take actual taxonomy course.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 10 months ago | (#45020049)

It's good to see you in a biology thread ;)

The Tree of Knowledge is an apple tree.

No, it was not. Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden to keep them away from the tree of life, they weren't supposed to eat from either that or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (NOT the "tree of knowledge") that they had taken a bite from. The two trees were as complimentary as a yin to a yang; the knowledge of good and evil is the knowledge of pain and death. So you had the tree of life and the tree of death, and last time I saw, Apples weren't poisonous.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 10 months ago | (#45020171)

...and as another commenter noted, the tree was probably meant to be read as a pomegranate tree anyway. Still an angiosperm!

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#45021953)

Well, it was a fruit tree so yeah, it was probably an angiosperm. Are there any fruit trees that that aren't?

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#45022373)

I don't think so, given that angiosperms are (all?) flowering plants. Fruits tend to require flowers first.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45021091)

and last time I saw, Apples weren't poisonous.

They were in a different fairy tale...

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

CODiNE (27417) | about a year ago | (#45022077)

Don't forget the Christmas tree and it's religious origins. (Hint: Not Christian.)

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#45022375)

Actually, conifers aren't angiosperms, so the standard modern Christmas tree doesn't qualify. (It's a narrower category than I first assumed.)

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

kanweg (771128) | about 10 months ago | (#45018259)

All angiosperms are sacred

Bert

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 10 months ago | (#45016285)

Ranked Funny here but I've seen religious folks say that and completely believe it. Were you to post it to a forum filled with ultra-religious folks, it would get ranked Insightful and would be followed with comment after comment saying how this definitely proves how science is wrong because it changes while religion is right because it doesn't change at all ever*.

* Ignore all those times over the centuries when religion has changed. Those never happened. Not at all. Everything's always been the way it is right now. Saying different is heresy!

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45016315)

Prove religion wrong or prove science right.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45016707)

I like that every time an evolution article comes about somebody has to use it as an occasion to mock religion. I find it amazingly telling how unimpressive and fallacious the arguments against religion seem to be.

Most are too proud to let their faith in evolution be shaken, but I challenge you to watch this with an open mind. You might come to a new conclusion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#45019791)

Most are too proud to let their faith in evolution be shaken

One doesn't need faith. The experiments establishing evolution are well known and can be reproduced by you.

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45019813)

I like that every time somebody makes a mocking statement about the conflict of religion and how many advocates come up with fallacious reasoning, that somebody has to come and defend poor oppressed religion actually is. I find it amazingly revealing how unimpressive and fallacious the arguments presented by the advocates of religion and so-called faith actually are.

Here watch this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbOEknbi4gQ

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (1)

Sabriel (134364) | about a year ago | (#45021553)

The long-winded video you link to, takes a bunch of people who aren't specialised in evolutionary biology, trips them up, and then uses this as a basis to assert that creationism is real. The remainder of the video uses similar pseudo-logic, ending with an advertising pitch. Pfffft.

Look, just because you demonstrate that a certain bunch of city folk don't understand how to run a dairy farm, doesn't mean cows don't exist, and it certainly doesn't mean I'm going to believe you know how to run a cattle ranch, no matter how much gloss you put on your fancy investment brochure.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/the-fallacy-fallacy [yourlogicalfallacyis.com]

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45021783)

I understand what you are saying, but in today's world scientists are looked upon as God's holy prophets who ARE infallible. While anyone who sees the universe as evidence of divine intention is automatically called a faggot, and lumped in with people who think the earth is 6000 years old. The debate is really old. I just wish people would use their own mind and senses to make a judgement. But instead of thinking or learning the science on their own, they are just apeing the opinions of the holy scientists, and considering themselves enlightened and thoughtful in the process.

my 2 pennies

Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45031361)

While anyone who sees the universe as evidence of divine intention is automatically called a faggot, and lumped in with people who think the earth is 6000 years old.

To be fair, they are usually guilty of pretty wooden [wikipedia.org] thinking and attitudes...

I jest, I jest, in truth I jest... :o)

Pollen != Flowers (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45015283)

I haven't seen a good argument that flowers and pollen are closely related. It could be argued that flowers were an adaptation to flying pollen collectors, as crawling pollen-collecting insects don't need visual assistance to find the pollen end of a plant.

Pheromone-like advertisement techniques are probably better (more economical) for crawlers being that most crawling insects don't have good distant vision. However, flying insects are moving too quickly to use chemical signals effectively such that bright petals are more useful to them.

Re:Pollen != Flowers (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 10 months ago | (#45015507)

I haven't seen a good argument that flowers and pollen are closely related. It could be argued that flowers were an adaptation to flying pollen collectors, as crawling pollen-collecting insects don't need visual assistance to find the pollen end of a plant.

TFA (actually, TFAbstract) says "Angiosperm-like pollen," and "angiosperm" is a term for "flowering plant." I don't think they're implying that flowers and pollen are the same thing, but that they infer the presence of flowering plants from the discovery of pollen that resembles the pollen of other flowering plants.

Re:Pollen != Flowers (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45017237)

I'm just saying that the evolution of pollen and the evolution of flowers themselves (with petals etc.) may not be closely aligned. As others pointed out, non-flowering families of plants also have pollen. The similarity of the new fossils to pollen of known flowering plants could be simply due to being from the same genetic stock or some unknown environmental adaptation shaping factor.

Re:Pollen != Flowers (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#45021629)

Or it could be that flowers are an efficient way to make pollen and produce pheromones.

I seem to recall reading way back that there was some evidence to suggest that early flowers were insipid by current standards and that they became more colorful with the rise of winged whoosits. Also, now I think of it, pheromones waft nicely on air currents. Doesn't hurt to have several navaids, coarse to fine.

Re:Pollen != Flowers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45016785)

Pollen has been around much longer than flowering plants (angiosperms). It's found in gymnosperms like conifers (pine, spruce, bald cypress), cycads ("sego palms"), and other non-flowering groups. This particular type of pollen, however, has a wall structure known as a "tectate" or "columellate" wall, where you've got an inner wall layer and a porous ("reticulate") outer wall layer connected by narrow supports in between them. That type of pollen structure is only known from angiosperms, whether modern or ancient.

An alternative explanation is that these are tectate pollen produced by some other type of plant, or that they aren't pollen grains at all (e.g., some type of algal structure), but looking at the pictures they really do look like angiosperm pollen, rather like the previously-known ones from the Cretaceous Period. Explaining why they aren't known from the intervening Late Triassic through Jurassic is a bit of a puzzle that the authors talk about a bit in the discussion.

The found pollen (3, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | about 10 months ago | (#45015847)

What they found was pollen, of a type normally found later in the fossil record. That they found a variety of different forms of pollen suggests that angiosperms had been around long enough to have diversified already, so this is probably not the last that we'll hear about this.

Hi (-1, Troll)

infozetar (3062659) | about 10 months ago | (#45015963)

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Say this 10 times fast (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about 10 months ago | (#45016107)

Here we report on angiosperm-like pollen and Afropollis from the Anisian (Middle Triassic, 247.2–242.0 Ma) of a mid-latitudinal site in Northern Switzerland. Small monosulcate pollen grains with typical reticulate (semitectate) sculpture, columellate structure of the sexine and thin nexine show close similarities to early angiosperm pollen known from the Early Cretaceous.

I think this sprained my brain.

Re:Say this 10 times fast (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45017271)

I can use this to upgrade my "Flux Capacitor" BS speech.

Re:Say this 10 times fast (1)

morethanapapercert (749527) | about a year ago | (#45026925)

bonus points if you also include quotes of the great "turbo-encabulator" technical film!

Science does not have all the answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45016267)

This is clearly liberal propaganda intended to brainwash children and the main reason why our children are home-schooled where they receive a proper Christian education in line with the teachings of the Bible.

bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45016497)

I heard something different in the 70's so I refuse to believe this new 'theory'.

Hah (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#45016781)

There go parts of the Time Spike plot, I guess.

Trouble teaching kids biology (3, Insightful)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 10 months ago | (#45017163)

One day, we were on the lawn, where a maple tree and a white pine tree grow. I asked the students which were more closely related: The maple and the pine tree, or the maple and the grass? I could not convince most of them that the 2 flowing plants were more closely related. Most insisted that being trees, they were closely related. No wonder we have trouble teaching kids science.

Re:Trouble teaching kids biology (1)

fldsofglry (2754803) | about 10 months ago | (#45017687)

No wonder we have trouble teaching kids science.

Sounds like you taught them just fine...learning on the other hand might be the problem.

Re:Trouble teaching kids biology (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 10 months ago | (#45018107)

One day, we were on the lawn, where a maple tree and a white pine tree grow. I asked the students which were more closely related: The maple and the pine tree, or the maple and the grass? I could not convince most of them that the 2 flowing plants were more closely related. Most insisted that being trees, they were closely related.

How old were these children? You asked quite a difficult question that requires some fairly advanced formal logical and systematization skills. From a developmental perspective, a textbook answer would say these skills begin appearing around age 11 -- but practically these skills aren't really mature and generalize-able until around age 13~17.

Even being a Biology major, I still got the answer to your question wrong (I mentally blanked out the provided solution and tried to figure it out independently without references). I ended up clumping the Pine and Maple into a polyphyletic grouping as C3-photosynthesizing plants, with the grasses as C4-photosynthesizers. Granted, I made the mistake because my training veered towards the molecular-bio side of things, and I've been out of school long enough to forget much of my Linnaean cladistics.

Re:Trouble teaching kids biology (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 10 months ago | (#45018967)

They were 8th graders.

Re:Trouble teaching kids biology (1)

olau (314197) | about 10 months ago | (#45019929)

It is a pretty amazing fact. Definitely one you could spend a lot of interesting biology study time on.

Re:Trouble teaching kids biology (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45029663)

I ended up clumping the Pine and Maple into a polyphyletic grouping as C3-photosynthesizing plants, with the grasses as C4-photosynthesizers.

That happens to be a single trait that emerged in the DAG of life something like forty times or so, isn't it? In other words, it probably isn't the best criterion to judge the evolutionary proximity of these plant species.

Re:Trouble teaching kids biology (1)

Guppy (12314) | about a year ago | (#45032429)

That happens to be a single trait that emerged in the DAG of life something like forty times or so, isn't it? In other words, it probably isn't the best criterion to judge the evolutionary proximity of these plant species.

Right, but I didn't realize it at the time that it was not such a fundamental trait. I just pulled up what knowledge I had about those plants from what I already knew (hence the result of me making a polyphyletic grouping).

Re:Trouble teaching kids biology (1)

dwye (1127395) | about 10 months ago | (#45019395)

Prove that you are right to them, or it is just your religious dogma. Maybe the "flowering plant" trait reoccurred, like stripes in the two types of horse that we call zebras which are more closely related to Equus equus than to each other (or at least, so I am claiming without citing supporting evidence)?

Biology isn't just a collection of meaningless facts, or Linneaus' original prejudices, after all.

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