When it blossomed, there were still dinosaurs on Earth. The flower recently discovered by a team of scholars coordinated by George Poinar is in fact more than 100 million years old. And of course it is extinct.
It has been preserved in amber to this day and it was found by one of the leading experts on insects and plants preserved in amber, Poinar. Which with his research has also given rise to the story of Jurassic Park.
Returning to the flower, called Valviloculus pleristaminis, at the time it was part of a family similar to that of the laurel. The research was published in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.
"This flower is a beauty, especially considering it was part of a forest that existed 100 million years ago," Poinar said. The flower was found in a Myanmar mine, where it was preserved in marine sedimentary deposits dating back to the mid-Cretaceous, about 99 million years ago. "The male flower is tiny, about two millimeters wide, but has about 50 spirally arranged stamens, with the anthers facing the sky," explains Poinar. "Despite being so small - he added - its details are surprising. Our specimen was probably part of a cluster on the plant that contained many similar flowers, some perhaps female".
Cover: Artist's impression of the 100 million year old flower (source: George Poinar Jr./OSU)