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Age-old relationship between birds and flowers: World’s oldest fossil of a nectarivorous bird

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posted on May, 30 2014 @ 12:10 AM
This is my first post, as a non intro post.
I debated where to put this article & decided to share it here so that evolutionists, creationists & young earth people, can talk about the implications of this finding.

World's oldest fossil of a nectarivorous

Scientists of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt have described the oldest known fossil of a pollinating bird. The well-preserved stomach contents contained pollen from various flowering plants. This indicates that the relationship between birds and flowers dates back at least 47 million years. The fossil comes from the well-known fossil site "Messel Pit." The study was published today in the scientific journal Biology Letters.

They fly from flower to flower, and with their long, slender bills they transfer the pollen required for the plants' reproduction. Particularly in the tropics and subtropics, birds, besides insects, serve as the most important pollinators.

"While this process is well known and understood in the present, geological history has offered very little evidence of pollination through birds," says Dr. Gerald Mayr, head of the Ornithological Section at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt. He adds, "there have been occasional hints, such as characteristic bill shapes, that nectarivorous birds occurred in the past, but, so far, there existed no conclusive evidence."

"This is another discovery that underlines the unique significance of the Messel fossil site," exclaims a delighted Dr. Wilde. "Not only does the presence of pollen offer direct evidence of the bird's feeding habits, but it shows that birds already visited flowers as long as 47 million years ago!"

Fossil evidence for the existence of pollinating insects dates back to the Cretaceous period. Until now, however, there had been no information at what time pollination through vertebrates, and birds in particular, came into existence. To date, the oldest indication of an avian pollinator came from the early Oligocene, about 30 million years ago. "But this hummingbird fossil only offers indirect evidence of the existence of nectarivorous birds," explains Mayr. "Thanks to the excellent state of preservation of the Messel bird, we were able to identify two different types of pollen, which is the first conclusive proof of nectarivory."

Large numbers of differently sized pollen grains were found in the stomach contents of the completely preserved avian fossil. "Along with the bird's skeletal anatomy, this indicates that we indeed have the fossil of a nectarivorous bird" explains Wilde.

And the spectacular discovery also suggests another conclusion: If a pollinating bird lived as much as 47 million years ago, it must be assumed that some representatives of the flora at that time had already adapted to this mode of pollination.

What do you think? It's a pretty cool find & helps to show the ever evolving nature of the Earth.

posted on May, 30 2014 @ 09:35 AM
a reply to: Margana

Fascinating. The YEC folks will reject the dating of course because it does not fit their faith based beliefs, but it's a nice example of evidence for a symbiotic relationship driving evolutionary specialisation in both flowering plants and nectorivorous birds which still continues to this day.

posted on May, 30 2014 @ 12:20 PM
a reply to: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing

Of course they won't come. Evolutionists can disprove a lot of the theories of YEC but when an evolutionist presents evidence like old fossils, the YEC keep away.

I think it's fascinating looking at the relationship between birds & flowering plants. It does make me wonder what first made the birds realize they could get pollen from flowering plants.

I've been watching the BBC's Planet Earth & am loving learning about the different species on this earth & the lives they live. Each species has evolved to be able to live in sometimes extreme conditions that others wouldn't be able to survive in if you relocated them. The Cave episode showed three species that had evolved to have no eyes, you could still see where the spot for the eyes was but there are no longer eyes there.

posted on May, 30 2014 @ 02:24 PM
a reply to: Margana

That is incredible, thanks for sharing. It makes me wonder which plants were around 47 million years ago? Any we still have? Are there any in my garden with 47 million year old ancestors?
That's a great first thread!


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