Which came first, the flower or the bee? Flowering plants (angiosperms) evolved to attract insects some 99.6 million to 65.5 million years ago, about the same time as the bugs that were pollinating them. But a new paper, published online Thursday in Science, proposes that one ancient fly was spreading plant pollen some 160 million years ago—way before there were any flamboyant blossoms.
Extinct members of the scorpion fly family had an impressive protrusion on their heads that may have been specially adapted to harvest nectar from gymnosperms, such as ferns and pines. The authors of the paper analyzed 11 species of ancient scorpion flies. They found that among all these species the fly's head had an approximately 10-millimeter-long proboscis, which researchers propose was used as a straw for sipping nectar from these flowerless plants.
The fossil specimen pictured here, a Lichnomesopsyche gloriae, was from the late middle Jurassic and found in northeastern China. It is now housed at the Capital Normal University in Beijing.
Deadline: Jul 25 2013
This challenge provides an opportunity for Solvers to build a web-based or mobile “app” to explore data relationships in scholarly conte
Deadline: Jul 14 2013
Reward: $1,000,000 USD
This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and&
Get Both Print & Tablet Editions for one low price!X