A Gnat in Amber With an Important Stowaway: Ancient Orchid Pollen


Atlas Obscura

May 4, 2017

This fungus gnat did not have a good day. First, she was duped into laying her eggs in an orchid instead of a mushroom, then she lost a leg, and finally she died, stuck in some tree sap. But between 45 and 55 million years later, her bad day is telling scientists that they need to reconsider the age of the orchid family. That tree sap preserved for the ages a pollen sac attached to the gnat’s leg, and it is the earliest known evidence of the diverse family of flowering plants.


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