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News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

Dinosaur-Era Insects Frozen in Time During Oldest Pollination

• http://www.livescience.com, Jeanna Bryner
The discovery, detailed this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the oldest known record of insect pollination.

(Pollination occurs when either the wind or an animal, mostly insects, deliver pollen from a plant's male reproductive organ to the female parts either on the same plant or another one.)

During the lower Cretaceous Period when the newly discovered thrips lived, flowering plants would have just started to diversify, eventually replacing conifers as the dominant species, the researchers said.
 
 "This is the oldest direct evidence for pollination, and the only one from the age of the dinosaurs," study researcher Carmen Soriano said in a statement. "The co-evolution of flowering plants and insects, thanks to pollination, is a great evolutionary success story."
 
Soriano and an international team of scientists studying the two pieces of amber, which were discovered in what is now northern Spain, say the specimens date back between 110 million and 105 million years ago.

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