beautiful flowers

Did Plants Always Have Flowers?

Flowers are beautiful, and they are everywhere. Can you imagine living without the colorful world of flowers? Nah! However, there were times 130 million years ago when the only plants we had were ferns and conifers-cone bearing trees, which had thrived for 200 million years before the first flower blossomed.

ferns conifers

Let us put on our archaeology caps and dig deeper for clues to find out how the flowers must have evolved or why did they evolve. Imagine what the world must have looked like when there were no flowers. The gardens must have be lush green with ferns, conifers and fishes in the ponds. A picture of peace and serenity. Let us look at the world with flowers that we have today. A beautiful colorful garden with flowers and fruits, birds and bees. A world buzzing with life.

flowers fossils

In 1990s fossilized flowers were discovered all over the world. The fossils do show that the flowers 130 million years ago were definitely very different looking from what they are now. They were small, not pretty and did not have petals. Not the flowers that you would imagine  huh!

In their quest to find the first tree that must have had  flowers, the scientists tested the genetic code of all the plants to find out  common ancestors. This research showed that Amborella trichopoda, a small woody plant might have been the first flowering plant from whom the rest evolved. However, there is no way of knowing for sure if this plant still looks the same or has changed a lot.

The way a plant makes another generation of its species is by making seeds. Before flowers evolved, roots extended and sprouted new plants. Ferns have spores where as cycads have cones that bud and fall to the ground. But they could not move to far away places.

Flowers are the tools that plants use to make their seeds. With flowers came seeds. Seeds could be carried around. Birds, dinosaurs and bees all helped in their own way to move the seeds. A seed just needs sunlight and water to make a new plant. Probably this is why the plants evolved to make flowers so that the flowers could make seeds which animals could carry and they could conquer the whole world.
Now coming back to how this evolution happened? Scientists that work on historical plants are still working on that.
Did you know what a scientist that work on historical plants called? Can you find out and tell us?



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