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Research yields understanding of Darwin's 'abominable mystery'
Date:12/6/2012

nosperms in many regions of the globe.

Dilcher and his colleagues show that angiosperms successfully invaded certain environments, gradually spreading to others. They write that angiosperms migrated to new environments in three phases:

  • Freshwater lake-related wetlands between 130 million and 125 million years ago
  • Understory floodplains between 125 million and 100 million years ago
  • Natural levees, back swamps and coastal swamps between 100 million and 84 million years ago

While paleobotanists once focused on collecting fossil flora and trying to make connections with present-day varieties, Dilcher and his colleagues have produced new insights into the evolutionary biology of flowering plants through close analysis of morphology and anatomy.

Dilcher added that co-evolution with insects gave angiosperms an evolutionary advantage. Insects played a vital role in cross-pollinating plants and accelerating the spread of genetic material. Plants evolved the means to "advertise themselves" with fragrances and bright colors while producing pollen and nectar that provided food for insects.


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Contact: Steve Hinnefeld
slhinnef@iu.edu
812-856-3488
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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