52 Million Years Old Fossil Fruit Found In Argentina

Posted: Jan 6 2017, 10:41am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

52 Million Years Old Fossil Fruit Found in Argentina
The new fossil groundcherry Physalis infinemundi from Laguna del Hunco in Patagonia, Argentina, 52 million years old. This specimen displays the characteristic papery, lobed husk and details of the venation. Credit: Ignacio Escapa, Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio
  • Ancient Fossils of Tomatillo Fruits show their Evolutionary Development
 

The ancient fossils of tomatillo fruits show their evolutionary development. This discovery shows that potatoes, peppers, tobacco, petunias and tomatoes existed 52 million years ago.

Very fragile remains of tomatillos found in Patagonia, Argentina are proof of the fact that this crucial family of plants had an ancient prehistory.

The plants include among their variations: potatoes, peppers, tobacco, petunias and tomatoes. They were existent 52 million years ago on the face of the earth. This rewrites the story of botany as related to the nightshade family of plants. 

Tomatillos, ground cherries and husk tomatoes have paper-thin covers. They are known by botanists to swell after fertilization and bloom into fleshy berries.

These are a limited portion of the nightshade family of plants which include some 2400 current species of vegetables and fruits. The fossil record for this family of plants was very limited.

Yet today evidence has been found that is changing all that. It is a case of out with the old and in with the new. More than 6000 fossils of these plants were found in Patagonia, Argentina.

The region comprises rainforest territory. This area was once the famous Gondwana. South America, Antarctica and Australia were one when Gondwana was existent.  

The fossils of tomatillos were analyzed in depth. They represent the first variants of the nightshade family of plants. The nightshade family is probably older than 52 million years in the past. Experts look at fossils of fruits and flowers.

The nightshade family has low biomass which means that its fossils are pretty rare. The previously discovered fossils showed little in the way of evidence regarding the evolutionary development of the nightshade family of plants. Yet these new fossils show a much better and clearer picture of the timeline of these plants.  

The geologic dating of these fossils has uncovered a virtual treasure trove of information. The origins of the plant kingdom is tied up with these ancient fossils.

The fossils are singular and unique in their nature. The date of the origin of these plants has been indefinitely pushed back thanks to proof lent by these fossils. 

The findings of this research got published in the journal Science.

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