Advertisement

Oldest Known Wood

Two newly described fossils suggest that wood is some 10 million years older than previous believed.

By | August 12, 2011

Transverse section of an Early Devonian (407 million years ago) plant with a small amount of woodIMAGE © SCIENCE/AAAS

Woody plants make up some today’s most impressive and diverse flora, but when and how they evolved is largely unknown. Now, two relatively small fossils provide new clues, and suggest that wood evolved at least 10 million years earlier than previously documented, according to a study published today (August 11) in Science. The fossils, a 407-million-year-old specimen from France and a 397-year-old specimen from Canada, have rings of cells that radiate outward—a defining characteristic of wood—and the walls of their cortexes are thick. Taken together with their surprisingly small size—stems measuring only about 12 centimeters in length—the fossils may help settle a debate about why wood evolved in the first place, suggesting that rather than providing mechanical support for plants as they grew larger, the woody structures served as a plumbing system for taking up water. The large size of woody plants may have then evolved secondarily, taking advantage of the newly evolved support system, ScienceNOW reports.

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Comments

Avatar of: Banaro

Anonymous

September 4, 2011

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 4, 2011

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 4, 2011

Advertisement
BD Bioscience
BD Bioscience

Popular Now

  1. The Two Faces of Fish Oil
    Notebook The Two Faces of Fish Oil

    The discovery of a tumor-protecting role for a fatty acid found in fish oil has sparked debate about the product’s safety.

  2. First Data from Anti-Aging Gene Therapy
  3. Brain Keeps Watch During Sleep
  4. Advances in Genome Editing
    Daily News Advances in Genome Editing

    Researchers develop a CRISPR-based technique that efficiently corrects point mutations without cleaving DNA.

Advertisement
uVP
uVP
Advertisement
Lab Quiz
Lab Quiz
RayBioTech
LI-COR Biosciences
LI-COR Biosciences