It is the oldest fossilized lily ever found that was discovered by the botanist Clement Coiffard of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin in the region of a former freshwater lake near Crato, in northeastern Brazil. With an age of 115 million years, it is one of the oldest fossils of monocotyledonous plants among those known; these are plants that include orchids and sweet herbs, among others.
The lily, which belonged to the Cratolirion species, is also “extraordinarily well preserved,” as specified in the by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.
The traces of all plant sections have remained intact, including the roots in addition to flowers and individual cells. Among other things, the plant had narrow leaves with parallel veins with a system of fibrous roots and triple flowers, all characteristic of monocotyledonous plants.
The flower was 40 cm high and the fossil consists of iron oxides associated with the stone. The researchers also used 3D X-ray analysis and three-dimensional computerized tomography techniques and then analyzed the details of the inflorescence.
The species is new and has been classified as Cratolirion bognerianum. This study will prove to be important to understand how the tropical environment has influenced flowering plants, a subject that is still partly unexplored because there are very few fossils of these plants described so far, as Coiffard himself specifies.
A circumplanetary disk was sighted by a group of astronomers through the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA). This is the first time, according to the same researchers, that a disk of planetary material is identified by optical light, composed mainly of dust and gases which are the remnants of the formation of a planet.
The disk has been identified around PDS 70 c, a planet that orbits PDS 70, a young star that is at a distance of 370 light-years from us. PDS 70 c is an external planet that is at a distance from its star similar to the distance between Neptune and the Sun.
This planet had already been identified along with another gaseous planet, PDS 70 b, which is located at a distance from its star similar to that which separates Uranus from the Sun and which presents a mass of dust that resembles a tail.
“For the first time, we can definitely see the telltale signs of a circumplanetary disk, which helps support many of the current theories on planet formation,” explains Andrea Isella, a researcher at Rice University in Houston and one of the authors of the study. The astronomer thinks that the material that circulates around this planet, formed relatively recently, is favoring the formation of moons of planetary dimensions.
The identification at the level of optical light of the disk around PDS 70 c was possible thanks to ALMA which analyzed in particular millimeter and submillimetre wavelengths, wavelengths at which the stars emit relatively little light and are therefore not in able to completely hide planets and elements that revolve around them, with their brightness.