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First Flower Looked Like This, Scientists Reveal

Image: First Flower Looked Like This, Scientists Reveal
Scientists recreated the world's first flower. (Hervé Sauquet & Jürg Schönenberger)

By    |   Wednesday, 02 Aug 2017 05:51 AM

What did the world's first flowers look like? Scientists have revealed their thoughts on the blooms they believe first appeared 140 million years ago.

No fossils of flowers from that time period have been found, but scientists used more recent fossils and genetic testing to reconstruct what the first flowers would have looked like. The lack of fossil record is believed to be because flowers are delicate and don’t readily fossilize.

According to a new study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, flowers first emerged around 140 million years ago from a common ancestor, which would have looked similar to a water lily and had both male and female reproductive parts.

Scientists looked at genetic data from 792 species of flowering plants to see how they are related and whether they might have a common ancestor. Flowering plants now account for more than 90 percent of living plant species, but did not exist at all before 140 million years ago, before which conifers dominated, according to New Scientist.

Prehistoric flowers are thought to have had whorls of three petals per layer and to have as many as 11 tepals and stamens for reproduction. The first flowers are thought to be white.

There are about 300,000 live flowering plants today, but none of them likely resemble their prehistoric ancestors after 140 million years of adaptations, the study postulated.

“All flowering plants have evolved and changed since that ancestor, that’s how evolution works,” lead study author Herve Sauquet said, USA Today reported. “So there is no single species or group of species that would have existed some long time ago and still exists today unchanged.”

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What did the world's first flowers look like? Scientists have revealed their thoughts on the blooms they believe first appeared 140 million years ago.
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Wednesday, 02 Aug 2017 05:51 AM
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