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North America’s oldest flowering plant discovered inside a museum

30
Nov
2013

The oldest flowering plant in North America may have been discovered in a fossil collection at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Nathan Jud, a PhD student at the University of Maryland, was examining ancient plant fossils at the museum when he discovered Potomacapnos apeleutheron, a flowering fern whose fossil is thought to be between 115 and 125 million years old. While there is nothing unusual about a flowering fern today, it was a relatively rare sight during the Early Cretaceous period. The plants distinctive pollen structure marked it as a eudicot, a group that now includes about 70 percent of the worlds flowering plants.

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