March 28, 2023


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How did plants evolve?  Fossil germs are defying results so far

How did plants evolve? Fossil germs are defying results so far

Plants appeared on Earth about 500 million years ago. By storing carbon dioxide, they cooled the Earth – they also fertilized the soil covering its surface.

plant evolution So it had a number of consequences For terrestrial life and to this day they play an important role in the functioning of our planet. Suffice it to say that terrestrial plants make up about 80 percent of the Earth’s biomass.

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Scientists who describe their research in pages Sciences, analyzed samples found in the canning basin of northern Australia. They found about 480 million years old fossilized spores of ancient land plants. The ancestral spores of algae were also detected in the water at the same location.

In this way, it was possible to describe the oldest spores of Earth plants known to science. The data collected is important because the timelines established to date have been high estimates. The oldest fossils of plant stems are about 430 million years old. The plants at that time were surprisingly small, and had no root systems or hard tissues. This may explain why so few of their fossils survive to this day.

Plant evolution is a very mysterious phenomenon, incl. Because of the small amount of fossils

The problem can be solved by spores, which must be strong enough to survive in a dry environment in the presence of ultraviolet rays. This also contributed to preserving the embryos in good condition, so that they survive for millions of years and can be discovered by paleontologists. In general, scientists assume that plant evolution was not a single phenomenon, but rather a process that spread over time. It appears that plants and algae coexisted in the same environment for a long time before they completely separated.

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In 2020, representatives of Geoscience Australia and the Geological Survey of Western Australia drilled a well in the southern part of the Canning Basin. Their goal was to obtain information on the geology of plutonic rocks. It turned out that within the so-called nambit formation, dating from the early Ordovician period, contained spores of terrestrial plants with a two- or four-celled system. Further research on this place and the conditions in which the plants first appeared can clarify.

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