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Leaves of ancient carnivorous plants found in Baltic amber

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Posted December 3, 2014

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Germany has discovered samples of two types of carnivorous plants that apparently date from the Eocene, embedded in Baltic amber. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes the plant leaves and offers opinions on their possible ties to modern carnivorous plants.

Leaves of ancient carnivorous plants found in Baltic amber

Fossil leaf of a flypaper trap plant in Baltic amber. Credit: Alexander R. Schmidt, University of Göttingen

The amber was part of a trove that has been found in a mine near Kaliningrad, Russia, where tons of samples have been taken over the past couple hundred years. The researchers obtained their samples from a pair of German amber collectors. Embedded inside two pieces of amber the researchers found leaves from what they believe to be the oldest known examples of a carnivorous plant.

The researchers believe the leaves date back approximately 35 to 47 million years ago, a time when Europe was warmer than today and still isolated from Asia. The find is rare, the team notes, as plants doesn’t fossilize well.

Read more at: Phys.org

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