The Liaoning forest from 130 million years ago shows us what life was like before most plants had flowers. Today, most of the plants on Earth are angiosperms, which are plants with flowers. Oak trees, grass, and other green plants that are still alive today make up about 80% of all green plants.
Flowers are an important part of all of these plants’ ways of reproducing. Some plants did flower 130 million years ago, but not many.
Most plants spread by spores, which you can see on ferns today, or seeds and cones, which you can see on pine trees today.
Plant remains found in Liaoning, China, show that the plants had spores or seeds, and one of them may have been one of the first plants to flower.
When paleontologists find a leg bone from a dinosaur, they can usually guess how big the animal was. But it’s hard for experts to figure out how big the whole plant was when they find a fossilized leaf.
Oak trees are very tall, but their leaves are small. Sunflower stems have much bigger leaves. Researchers usually use modern plants to figure out how to make old plants look and how big they were.
These days, most trees have flowers. But when did flowers start to change? Archaefructus is an old plant that was found in Liaoning. It has very small, simple flowers and may have been one of the first plants to flower.
Archaefructus lived about 130 million years ago and most likely grew near or in water.
The flowers of flowering plants contain their seeds in an ovary. Flowering plants are vascular plants. Due to their wide range and ecological significance, these plants have had a major impact on terrestrial habitats.
The presence of flowering plants has a big effect on ecosystems because they provide homes, food, and important ecological tasks like making oxygen and storing carbon.
The story of how plants have changed over millions of years is very interesting. Earth was mostly made up of non-flowering plants like ferns, cycads, and conifers before blooming plants came along.
Plants came from ancestors that lived in water and slowly adapted to life on land over time. Vascular cells made it easier for plants to move water and nutrients around, which helped them grow on land.
Before blooming plants came along, there were gymnosperms. Plants that lived during the Mesozoic age were mostly gymnosperms, which include conifers and cycads.
Scientists still don’t agree on when the first flowering plants will appear. Fossil records show that the first flowering plants appeared in the late Jurassic or early Cretaceous, which is about 140 to 160 million years ago.
The oldest flowering plant fossils that we know of are primitive forms like Archaefructus that have simple flower structures.
These early angiosperms probably had simple flower structures and reproductive organs, which are different from the complicated flowers we see today.
Flowering plants had a big effect on the variety and dynamics of ecosystems.
The way they interacted with pollinators, herbivores, and other living things changed the way environments worked and were structured, which increased biodiversity.
Flowering plants had mutualistic ties with birds, insects, and other living things, showing how ecosystems are linked.
Flowering plants are still important today; they have an impact on many parts of our lives and the world.
They are still important for food, medicine, textiles, and ecological services, which make a big difference in people’s lives and well-being.
There is no doubt that blooming plants are very important to human societies because they provide food, help with farming, and look nice.
The development of flowering plants was a major turning point in Earth’s past. It changed terrestrial ecosystems and kept life going in many ways. From their mysterious beginnings to their essential part in modern ecosystems, flowering plants continue to amaze and change the world in big ways.
For the first flowering plants, it was around 140 to 160 million years ago, in the late Jurassic or early Cretaceous time.
Flowering plants have evolved to be more adaptable than other plants. They can reproduce efficiently through flowers, fruits, and seeds, and they have evolved to work with insects to create new plants.
Flowering plants have a big effect on the way ecosystems work because they increase variety, create habitats, and make connections with other living things.
Many plant species are in danger because of problems like ecosystem loss, climate change, invasive species, and overexploitation.
Flowering plants are important to people’s lives because they are used to make food, medicine, and clothes, and they are also important to the environment.