The evolution of flowers: Part 1

Land plants evolved 700 million years ago and fungi had developed over 1.3 billion years ago.

This is much earlier than previous estimates. Many sources suggest that plants had popped up on land around 470 million years ago, however this theory has recently been busted by a new theory.

The reason plants had thought to have been developed was because this is when the first fossils of plants had been traced back to.

fossils

However, recent research suggests that the plants that had developed before this time were so primitive that their bodies were so soft that when the pant died, it wouldn’t even leave any trace to turn into fossil.

barren-land

Before plants graced the land it was thought that Earth above water was barren and empty. What researchers believe is that Lichens had developed as the first biological life above water. Put simply, Lichens are the symbiotic relationship between algae and fungi. This relationship can be compared to a Clownfish and an Anemone, or whales with those barnacles (what’s up with those anyway?). The point is, that both parties benefit from the deal.

clownfish-and-sea-anemone-wallpaper-3

These Lichens now come in a few varieties and you may well have seen some today. Below is a few pictures of what varieties are most commonly seen on rocks or on trees.

As these Lichens started evolving and spreading across the land, they (as do most land plants) began to take in carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Scientists believe that the Earth began to cool dramatically at this point. This effect is commonly called Snowball Earth period.

According to studies, the Earth is now warming up because we are burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal, releasing the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Oil and coal are literally a form of fossil of these ancient plants from millions of years ago, of which were the ones who took the carbon out of the atmosphere in the first place (Sorry for undoing all your hard work Lichen).

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