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Re: World's Oldest Flower

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Message text written by _moi_

">        Why is this news only now?  This was originally reported in an
>article in Chinese in 1992!  I don't quite get the delay...  8-S

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        First, an apology -- my memory was clearly malfunctioning (the
undoubted result of being surrounded by too much turkey and stuffing!  ;-D 
) -- I was remembering a _different_ Chinese paleobotany paper when I said
"1992," not the one I _should_ have been remembering, which is 1997! 
Apologies for any undue confusion or misrepresentation I may have caused! 
So I had no need to be confused myself...

        Anyway, the reference I _should_ have been citing was:

Ge, S. and Dilcher, D.L.  1997.  Discovery of the oldest known angiosperm
inflorescences in the world from Lower Cretaceous of Jixi, China.  _Acta
Palaeontologica Sinica_ 36(2):  135-142.

        The plant is named in this paper:  it's called _Xingxueina
heilongjiangensis_ (I haven't seen the _Science_ paper, so I don't know if
it mentions this name or not).  It stems (ha ha!) from the Chengzihe
Formation, which is described in the paper as Lower Cretaceous (on the
basis of dinoflagellate correlation and biostratigraphy from an underlying
stratum, which are Valanginian-Hauterivian in age, the plants are thought
to be Hauterivian-Barremian).  The English portion of the paper also cites
other angiosperms from the site and formation, but I don't have these
papers (some are mentioned as "in press" or "MS," which I assume means "in
prep"), including _Asiatifolium_, _Jixia_, _Shenkuoa_, _Zhengia_, and
others, as well as numerous non-angiosperm plants.

        What I find most interesting is that a non-Chinese scientist is
working on these specimens from the (apparent) get-go -- western scientists
weren't "in" on the feathered theropods or new birds until _after_ they'd
already been published in Chinese journals by Chinese paleontologists...

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                     Jerry D. Harris
                 Fossil Preparation Lab
          New Mexico Museum of Natural History
                   1801 Mountain Rd NW
               Albuquerque  NM  87104-1375
                 Phone:  (505) 899-2809
                  Fax:  (505) 841-2866