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November 30 2013

This Could Be the Oldest Flowering Plant Ever Found in North America

A few years ago, University of Maryland PhD student Nathan Jud was routinely examining a batch of ancient plant fossils in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum‘s collections when one in particular caught his eye.

“It looked sort of like a little piece of fern, so I tried to remove a bit of the rock that was covering it to get a sense of what type of fern it was,” he says. “But the more of the rock I would lift off the surface, the more fossil I found buried. What I thought had been one little piece of a leaf actually turned out to be two, connected to each other.”.

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