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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: The Oldest Buttercup Yet
30 March 2011 1:04 pm
Darwin called the origin of flowering plants an "abominable mystery." They appear in the fossil record and immediately grow abundant and varied, creating a problem for his theory of slow but continuous change. The unearthing of a new fossil in northeast China, described online today in Nature, could explain the apparent contradiction. The ancient flowering plant, Archaefructus liaoningensis, resembles a modern-day buttercup, with slender stems and three-lobed leaves. Its discovery pushes back the date of when flowering plants diversified to around 127 million years ago, during the early Cretaceous period. That's a couple of million years earlier than Darwin had previously thought, suggesting that these ancient blooms had longer to evolve than he suspected.
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