The evolution process of plants has been a mystery for scientists across the world. Recently, a team of researchers studied plant fossils with an aim to discover the origin period of evolution in plant reproduction. For the purpose of research, the team studied million years old fossils of plants kept at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington.
The study, which was recently published in the journal Current Biology, focussed on scientists analysing how reproduction evolved in plants. According to reports, the team studied 30 small rock fragments that were originally excavated from Campbellton Formation of New Brunswick, Canada. The researchers then identified over 80 reproductive structures in plants which were then studied by scientists.
They found out that while most of them consisted of spores, there was a difference in spores that prompted them to dig further. Speaking to international media reporters, Andrew Leslie, a senior author at the study elaborated that it was rare to get this many spongia with "well-preserved spores that you could measure".
Talking about the reason for picking up the topic, he said that study of plant reproduction is of increased labour, specialisation and complexity. However, he added that someone had to begin the process. He then said that these fossils gave an insight into the period when evolution began in plants. According to researchers, the fossil species belonged to the Devonian geological period, spanning between 419,2 million and 358.9 million years ago.
Plant evolution is the subset of evolutionary phenomena that concern plants. Evolutionary phenomena are characteristics of populations that are described by averages, medians, distributions, and other statistical methods. It includes the study of genetic change and the consequent variation that often results in speciation, one of the most important types of radiation into taxonomic groups called clades.