472 million-year-old plant fossils found in Argentina

October 13th, 2010 - 6:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 13 (IANS) Fossils of the what could be the oldest plants ever have been unearthed in Argentina. The amazing find indicates that plants had already existed on earth 472 million years ago, a full 10 million years earlier than thought.

Experts have confirmed that the fossilised plants are liverworts, a simple species which has no roots or stems.

The discovery indicates they are likely to be the ancestors of all land plants, reports the Daily Mail.

The discovery was made by researchers at the Department of Palaeontology at the Argentine Institute of Snow, Ice and Environmental Research in Mendoza, Argentina.

Chief researcher Claudia Rubinstein and her team found five fossilised species in sediment samples collected from the Sierras Subandinas in the central Andean basin of northwest Argentina.

“Spores of liverwort are very simple and called cryptospores,” Rubeinstein told the BBC. “The cryptospores that we describe are the earliest to date.”

Prior to this discovery, the oldest known plants had been liverwort cryptospores found in Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic which were thought to date back around 462 million years.

Rubenstein said the discovery was totally unexpected.

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