By dating fossils of pollen and beetles

“The authors did a pretty good job of looking at this specimen and putting it in its appropriate phylogenetic context and looking at the pollen and putting that into a phylogenetic context and then combining the two into an ecological relationship that goes all the way back to the early part of the Mesozoic [Era].”Nagalingum cautions that these pollen grains are very difficult to ascribe to a particular plant group, and they could also have come from another ancient gymnosperm.

“There’s just so much uncertainty associated with paleobotany” because complete plant fossils are so rare, she says.

For further information, including about cookie settings, please read our Cookie Policy .The boganiid beetled stuck inside the Myanmar amber hails from the mid-Cretaceous, the upper period of the Mesozoic Era (145 million to 66 million years ago) and has been described as a new species, dubbed The interesting thing about this insect, aside from the cycad pollen encapsulated along with it, is that it sports a series of special adaptations which indicate it had a pollen diet.For instance, the beetle fossil, which has been extremely well preserved, has mandibular cavities that would have helped it carry the pollen.The amber just might give him the detail he’d been searching for.Cai cut and polished the specimen to get a closer look and realized that the 2-millimeter-long beetle had large mandibles and extremely long mouthparts called maxillary palps—features characteristic of pollinators.

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