Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Flower evolution

While land plants have exist for about 425 million years, the first ones reproduced by a simple variation of their aquatic counterpart; spores. In the sea, plants and some animals can simply scatter out little living copies of themselves to float left and grow elsewhere. This is how early plants, such as the modern fern, are thought to have reproduced. But plants soon began protecting these copies to deal with ventilation out and other abuse which is even more possible on land than in the sea. The protection became the seed...but not, yet, flowers. Early seed-bearing plants include the ginkgo, conifers and fir trees. But the first fossil proof of actual flowers appears only 130 million years ago.
Unfortunately, there is no fossil evidence of exactly how flowers evolved; the confirmation has them springing in advanced form into the fossil record. This was recognized almost immediately during the development of progress theory, the strange appearance of flowers in the fossil record being called by Charles Darwin the Abominable Mystery.