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.
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