Scientists have found looked like the first flower of the Earth

© Hervé Sauquet & Jürg Schönenberger reconstruction of the appearance of the first flower on EarthScientists have found looked like the first flower of the Earth© Hervé Sauquet & Jürg Schönenberger

Biologists have analyzed the evolutionary history of flowering plants and found that the first flowers of the Earth were most similar to white lilies and TRILLIUM in their shape and coloring, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

Traditionally it is believed that the first flowering plants appeared on Earth in the Cretaceous period, about 150 million years ago, has revolutionized the world of flora and herbivorous creatures. Their main weapon in the competition with ferns and other gymnosperms plants was that they enlisted the help of new allies — insects and other pollinators.

Pollination of flowers by insects in exchange for a portion of nectar and other food helped modern plants quickly displace the cycads, ferns and other gymnosperms plants relying on wind pollination and spacing of their seeds. Their ultra-fast propagation in the middle and the end of the Cretaceous period, as today, some scientists believe, could even cause or accelerate the extinction of the dinosaurs, not able to eat tough leaves and branches of flowering plants.

Jürg, Shenenberger (Juerg Schoenenberger) from the University of Vienna (Austria) and his colleagues found the look of those first flowering plants, comparing between hundreds of flowers to their modern descendants and selecting among them those traits that are the most common and thus almost not changed since the era of the dinosaurs.

The result of all of these calculations and comparisons has become a virtual flower, which, according to the researchers, is very similar to the flowers that first bloomed on the surface of the Earth approximately 100 million years ago. In appearance it is similar to many modern plants, but has several unique features that distinguish it from all existing colors.

In particular, these flowers had five pistils, twisted in curls, ten stamens, and several sets of petals and sepals, which were United in the «Troika» and painted white. A similar structure we have today flowers lilies and truly, except that they have not five, but three of the pistil and six stamens.

Another interesting feature of this plant is that it is dioecious, like sea buckthorn and some other modern representatives of the flora having a «male» and «female» in the bushes. Today the number of such plants is relatively small – they account for only 4-6% of the total number of species, however, in the past, as scientists believe, they could dominate on the Ground.

Further study and refinement of the appearance of this flower, as scientists hope will help them clarify some of the controversial issues of evolution of plants and understand the role they played in the extinction of the dinosaurs, evolution of mammals and other life forms on Earth.

For example, the similarity of ancient flowers with lilies began some surprise to the biologists as botanists previously believed that the first flowers were like amborella, primitive plant with inconspicuous flowers from New Caledonia, and bright lilies. This could mean how they make Shenenberger and his colleagues that the evolution of flowering plants could go very different ways in fact, from the moment of their appearance on Earth.