An exciting discovery has come up in Myanmar as seven flowers have been found to be perfectly preserved in amber, dating back to about 100 million years ago!
These flowers were observed to be encased in amber during the Cretaceous period, and were still of stunning condition. The authors of the study speculated that they could have been dislodged from their trees (in a pine forest) by a dinosaur passing by them.
According to George Poinar Jr, professor emeritus of Oregon State University’s College of Science, “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 flowers named Tropidogyne pentaptera, are part of the Cunoniaceae family and are described to resemble the modern “Christmas bush” in Australia. The flowers are very tiny, measuring 3.4 to 5 millimeters in diameter, prompting the researchers to use a microscope to study them.
Professor Poinar adds that, “The amber preserved the floral parts so well that they look like they were just picked from the garden. In their general shape and venation pattern, the fossil flowers closely resemble those of the genus Ceratopetalum that occur in Australia and Papua-New Guinea.”
The researchers also state that the flowers must have been encased in amber prior to the splitting of the supercontinent of Gondwana, explaining why this species found in Myanmar, is related to the modern day species found in Australia.