A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom and the National Autonomous University of Mexico reveals that flowering plants largely managed to escape the mass extinction that occurred 66 million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs. While some plant species disappeared, the event allowed flowering plants to become the dominant type of plant on Earth.
Prior to this study, the impact of the mass extinction on flowering plants was unknown due to the lack of fossils. Plants do not have skeletons, making fossils rare and archaeological evidence difficult to study.
The research team used genetic analysis to study the evolution of flowering plants during the mass extinction. They discovered that many species vanished, but the lineages to which they belonged, such as families and orders, managed to survive and thrive. It is estimated that there are currently around 400,000 species of flowering plants on Earth.
Flowering plants have a remarkable ability to adapt, utilizing different pollination mechanisms and seed dispersal methods. Some have even completely duplicated their genomes and developed new forms of photosynthesis. These traits have enabled them to survive and become true survivors of nature.
The research shows how mass extinctions shape the diversity and distribution of living beings on Earth. While dinosaurs did not manage to survive, flowering plants have become one of the most successful and dominant groups on the planet.
– Biology Letters
– University of Bath, United Kingdom
– National Autonomous University of Mexico