Gould would have loved this

New Scientist: Evolutionary 'big bang' gave rise to flowering plants

Flower power had its true heyday not in the 1960s, but 140 million years ago. That was when the ancestors of more than 99 per cent of flowering plants came into being in a "big bang" lasting just a few million years…

[A team from Oberlin College, Ohio] sequenced entire chloroplast genomes for 45 flower species from all major groups, which revealed that five sister groups split off nearly simultaneously. Two groups, the eudicots (including roses, sunflowers and tomatoes) and the monocots (grasses and their relatives), together account for 95 per cent of flowering plants. Magnolias occupy a third group. The two others are less well known (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0708072104).

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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