We have enough knowledge on the ancestors of animals and humans, but the origin of flowers was shrouded in mystery. Now, thanks to computer model reconstructions, scientists managed to find out what is the common ancestor of all flowering plants and how it looked like. The plant in question lived 140 million years ago and resembled a white lily.
- By using computer simulations and a complex flower database, researchers managed to find out how the common ancestor of all flowering plants looked like.
- The plant resembled a white lily and had both male and female parts.
- This research can fill the gaps in the theory on the evolution of flowers.
Flowering plants belong to the class of angiosperms, and make up around 90 percent of all plants on Earth. Scientists couldn’t find out too much about their origin. This is mostly because flowers are hard to preserve, so there are few to no fossils left they could analyze and decode their origin.
However, they managed to find a way to discover the common ancestor of flowers. By using a complex database on common traits of all flowers, as well as building computer models of their evolution, they could build an image of this mysterious ancestor. This image, as well as other details of the study, have been published in the journal Nature Communications.
This ancestor looked quite similar to a white lily, and had its petals (or whorls) organized on three layers. Also, this flower was ‘bisexual’, meaning it hosted both male and female parts. All these findings make a great start for a more thorough research into the evolution of flowers. This way, we can find out how flowers became so diverse and adapted to all kinds of environments.
However, many of the findings present in the study are mostly speculations. Scientists need a bit more research until they can fill the gaps on flower evolution. Even so, it’s interesting to find out the common ancestor of all flowering plants doesn’t look so different than today’s specimens.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons