OSU professors discover new 100-million-year-old species of tree - KPTV - FOX 12

OSU professors discover new 100-million-year-old species of tree from fossilized flowers

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100-million-year-old fossilized flower identified and named by OSU researchers George Poinar Jr. and Kenton Chambers. (Image: OSU) 100-million-year-old fossilized flower identified and named by OSU researchers George Poinar Jr. and Kenton Chambers. (Image: OSU)
CORVALLIS, OR (KPTV) -

Professors at Oregon State University have discovered a new species of tree from 100-million-year-old fossilized flowers.

George Poinar Jr., professor emeritus in Oregon State University's College of Science, said it's the first time seven complete flowers of this age have been reported in a single study. The flowers range from 3.4 to 5 millimeters in diameter, necessitating study under a microscope.

Poinar and collaborator Kenton Chambers, professor emeritus in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, named the discovery Tropidogyne pentaptera based on the flowers' five firm, spreading sepals; the Greek word for five is "penta," and "pteron" means wing.

"The amber preserved the floral parts so well that they look like they were just picked from the garden," Poinar said. "Dinosaurs may have knocked the branches that dropped the flowers into resin deposits on the bark of an araucaria tree, which is thought to have produced the resin that fossilized into the amber. Araucaria trees are related to kauri pines found today in New Zealand and Australia, and kauri pines produce a special resin that resists weathering."

The new findings were recently published in Paleodiversity.

Poinar, in his studies of plants and creatures, said what’s all around us now is only about 1 percent of the species that have existed since the beginning of Earth.

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