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About 40 million years ago a flower bloomed in a coniferous forest in the Baltic Sea. Fallen tree resin covered the petals and pollen, forever showing an ephemeral moment in our planet’s past.
Scientists have taken a new look at the unique amber fossil, which was first documented in 1872 as belonging to a pharmacist named Kowalewski in what is now Kaliningrad, Russia.
The striking fossil was largely forgotten in the collection of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) in Berlin, according to Eva Maria Sadowski, postdoctoral researcher at Museum Für Naturekunde, Berlin’s natural history museum, and author of the new study.
She said she had heard about the fossilized flower, formally known as specimen X4088, in the death of a retired colleague, which she thought was an exaggeration.
He told me that he once visited BGR and that he () saw The coolest and largest amber flower in their group. I didn’t know they had an amber range. So I asked BGR’s collection curator if I could come see their collection — and there I found specimen X4088,” she said via email.
“I was surprised to see such a large flower it contained.”
at 28 mm (1.1 in) Across, it’s the largest known flower ever fossilized in amber — three times the size of similar fossils.
Sadowski extracted and examined pollen from amber. She found that Venus had been misidentified when it was first studied.
The original name for this specimen was Stewartia of the Theaceae plant family. But we can show in our study that this was not true, mainly based on pollen morphology. But when the specimen was first studied in the nineteenth century, they[didn’t]discover or study the pollen.
The flower is closely related to a genus of flowering plants common in Asia today known as Symplocos – shrubs or trees with white or yellow flowers.
Originally called Stewartia kowalewskii, the authors propose a new name for the flower, Symplocos kowalewskii.
Amber fossils offer a tantalizing three-dimensional view of the past. Beside the plants And flowersa dinosaur tailAnd crabAnd Hell antAnd Spider mother and her youngAnd old birdft f lizard skull They were found buried in balls of tree resin.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports on Thursday.
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