Examining the flowers more than three hundred thousand modern plants, a large international team of researchers has figured out how he could look like the very first flower on Earth. As scientists assume, tepals, petal-like, they were located in “layers” for three, and the role of stamens and pistil was played by one and the same body.
The alleged appearance of the first flower in history. Image: Hervé Sauquet, Jürg Schönenberger
Flowers, or angiosperms, appeared, according to various estimates, 140-250 million years ago, quickly gained dominion on the planet. Today from ten plants nine belong to this Department, and not to the gymnosperms, the dominant in the recent by the standards of evolution, the past. Experts note that the rapid triumph of plants with flowers is a phenomenon which struck, including Charles Darwin, the author of the theory of evolution said back in 1879.
Experts say that the first flowering plants were not too similar to some of their modern “descendants”. However, most flowers in its structure resembled those that today you can see buttercups, Magnolia and Laurel trees. The results of the research prove the fact that the diameter of the first flower is unlikely to exceed a centimeter in diameter. It leaves of the perianth, often were combined in groups of three, and in total there were at least 11. Pistil carried both male female reproductive elements, fulfilling thus the role of the stamens. Since then, the structure of the flower has changed significantly, which allowed to provide their modern diversity, scientists say.
According to the researchers, if the results obtained are correct, this means that even the most ancient flowering plants existing today (for example, water lilies) greatly differ from a common ancestor with other representatives of this biological group.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.