Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fossil frond

"The specimen is so well preserved that it is as if someone had nipped back in a time machine into the Eocene and got it," remarks senior botanist Martin Cheek of Kew Gardens in London about the leaves of a 35- to 47-million-year-old carnivorous plant preserved in Baltic amber. The fronds were discovered in the Jantarny amber mine near Kaliningrad, Russia, by researchers from the University of Göttingen in Germany. It caught its prey using the long, sticky hairs that are still present. The carnivore appears to be a member of the Roridulaceae genus and as such would have developed a symbiotic relationship with an insect to digest the captured prey, consume it, and fertilize the plant with its poop. Lead researcher Eva-Maria Sadowski exclaims, "We were all so excited when we discovered it because it's very beautiful and striking. It's amazing to look at something so old, yet so well preserved."


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