Paleontologists pushed back the start of the pollination of flowering plants by insects in the Cretaceous period

Paleontologists have found evidence of
what insects pollinate flowering plants 99 million years ago
reported
in Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences. In
Burmese amber, scientists found the beetle simonescu
with the pollen in some angiosperms on the abdomen. Thus, scientists
demonstrated that insects began
to pollinate flowering plants by 50 million
years earlier than previously thought.

Flowering
(or angiosperms) are the most numerous
the group of higher plants. According to the estimatesof botanists,
it has more than 350 thousand species.
The age of the oldest found today
floral fossils not
exceeds130
million years. However, some researchers believe that the angiosperms
appeared earlier, about 140-250 million years
ago (1, 2).
In the early and mid-Cretaceous
(it lasted from 140 to 66 million years
ago) there was a rapid diversification
flowering plants. Scientists assume,
the key role in this evolutionary
the process was played by the pollination of flowers
insects. In the Cretaceous period already
existed bugs,
flies
or thripsthat pollinate
gymnosperm plants.
However, direct evidence that
insects helped to multiply and
Tsvetkov plants, until recently
there was no time. The oldest testimony
pollination of angiosperms
insects dated back to the Eocene period of 45-48 million years.

Now paleontologists from China and the United States showed
that insects pollinate flowering plants
for 50 million years before. They described
new species of beetles preserved in
Burmese amber, which is
estimated 98,79 million years. The authors
examined the sample by using optical and confocal
microscopy and computed tomography.

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