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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: (Very) Early Bloomers
1 October 2013 4:00 pm
Could the early dinosaurs and ancestral crocodiles of the Triassic period stop and smell the flowers? Six fossilized pollen grains found in northern Switzerland suggest they could. The earliest appearance of flowering, fruiting plants, known as angiosperms, is still under debate: Many estimates place their origins in the early Cretaceous period—about 140 million years ago—but there have been controversial claims of even earlier examples. The newly discovered grains, stuck inside silty core samples about 900 meters deep, are roughly 240 million years old and bear the key features of known angiosperm fossils, the researchers report online today in Frontiers in Plant Science. Seen through a laser scanning microscope that reveals 3D structure, the tiny objects (shown) sport perforated outer walls with a single furrow, reminiscent of ancestral angiosperms. But pushing the origin of flowering plants into the Middle Triassic period presents a new puzzle: explaining a 100-million-year gap in the fossil record.