An ancient plant that has made its appearance in the water could be the very first in Earth’s history. Scientists have come to this conclusion by analyzing 1,000 fossil remains. This plant is believed to be 130 million years old.
This particular water-dwelling plant was named Montsechia vidalii in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Its thorough study could disconcert many theories regarding how angiosperms first came into existence. Angiosperms are plants capable of producing flowers.
So, an angiosperm is a flowering plant, whose breeding process occurs through seeds. The ovules of angiosperms are enclosed in an ovary, which develops into the fruit after fertilization. Moreover, a common angiosperm exhibits double fertilization.
The study authors pointed out that due to its ancient roots and because it was aquatic, this currently extinct fresh water plant would raise questions regarding how angiosperms firstly developed and came to be. It raised awareness concerning their evolutionary phases.
The addition of flowers to the plant family tree is rather recent. First of all, plants engaged in reproduction without growing petals, which were directed towards luring insects. Of course, the insects started to seek nectar afterwards.
After flowering plants came into existence they started to actually bloom, and, as a consequence, bugs started to be lured by their fragrance and started to pollenize.
A scientist who was not involved in the study paper, Donald Les of the University of Connecticut, explained that the ancient 120-million-year old world had been subjected to remarkable biological processes. Angiosperms had evolved as the key-element in the floristic environment, an event that changed the entire planet.
Les said that the understanding of ancient life on Earth was due to the analysis of fossil records, the primary source, despite outstanding advances in genetics, bioinformatics and genomics.
It is yet uncertain whether the very first plants developed on land or on water.
Paleobotanist David Dilcher and his team wrote in the study that it was generally believed that aquatic angiosperms were offshoots of terrestrial plants, as merely 2 percent of angiosperms are aquatic at the present time.
Regarding Montsechia vidalii, the research team said that it did not have petals or nectar-producing elements, but that it did display a single seed, a specific characteristic to angiosperms.
The authors of the study finally pointed out that M.vidalii and similar angiosperms probably made it possible for aquatic plants to be common at the earliest stage of angiosperm evolution. They reported that the diversification of angiosperms’ direct descendants was expressly influenced by aquatic habitats.
Photo Credits d.ibtimes.co.uk