Home / Travel / Scientists discover world`s oldest green plant fossil
Scientists discover world`s oldest green plant fossil

Scientists discover world`s oldest green plant fossil

<p class=":color-gray-1 font-knowledge regular f10 line-height-1-3 mb15" data-label="Package" data-qa-component="item-headline" data-rc-highlight="headline" dir="auto" title="Billion-year-old Chinese seaweed is oldest green plant fossil”>Scientists have discovered a billion year old Chinese seaweed which they claim to be the oldest green plant fossil.

<p class=":color-gray-1 font-knowledge regular f10 line-height-1-3 mb15" data-label="Package" data-qa-component="item-headline" data-rc-highlight="headline" dir="auto" title="Billion-year-old Chinese seaweed is oldest green plant fossil”>The study was published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

<p class=":color-gray-1 font-knowledge regular f10 line-height-1-3 mb15" data-label="Package" data-qa-component="item-headline" data-rc-highlight="headline" dir="auto" title="Billion-year-old Chinese seaweed is oldest green plant fossil”>Researchers on Monday said the plant, called Proterocladus antiquus, was about the size of a rice grain and boasted numerous thin branches, thriving in shallow water while attached to the seafloor with a root-like structure.

Also read: Smelly seaweed invades Sierra Leone beaches

This tiny seaweed was spotted in the carpet of the seafloor in northern China.

Proterocladus is a form of green algae and although it appears small, it was one of the largest organisms of its time, sharing the seas mainly with bacteria and other microbes.

It engaged in photosynthesis, transforming energy from sunlight into chemical energy and producing oxygen.

Watch: Mexican beaches threatened by algae invasion

Proterocladus antiquus is a close relative of the ancestor of all green plants alive today,” said Qing Tang, a Virginia Tech post-doctoral researcher in paleobiology who detected the fossils in rock dug up in Liaoning Province near the city of Dalian and lead author of the study.

Proterocladus is 200 million years older than the previous earliest-known green seaweed. One of its modern relatives is a type of edible seaweed called sea lettuce.

Proterocladus represents the oldest unambiguous green plant fossil. Fossils of possible older single-celled green plants are still a matter of debate.

The transition from single-celled to multicellular plants like Proterocladus was a pivotal development that paved the way for the riot of plants that have inhabited the world, from ferns to sequoias to the Venus flytrap.

Earth’s biosphere depends heavily on plants for food and oxygen. The first land plants, thought to be descendents of green seawe, appeared about 450 million years ago.