Peter Hochuli and Susanne Feist-Burkhardt from the University of Zürich announced their discovery of the oldest known flowering plants ever found in the world in the Oct. 1, 2013 issue of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.
Two drilling cores from Weiach and Leuggern, northern Switzerland, presented fossil evidence of flowering plant pollen that is 100 million years older than any evidence of flowering plants found on Earth. The oldest samples date to between 247 and 252 million years ago. Some samples are expected to be even older.
This discovery indicates that the first flowering plants on Earth arose during the Early Triassic and predated the presently accepted arrival of flowering plants in the Early Cretaceous about 140 million years ago.
This is the first discovery of physical evidence that flowering plants appeared on Earth much earlier than any other that has been previously documented.
Pollen from six varieties of plants were extracted from the drilling cores and compared to present day pollen from flowering plants. The researchers also found evidence that leads them to conclude that bugs, probably beetles, were the pollinators for the flowering plants at the time because there is no physical evidence of bees or wasps having existed during the same time frame.