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Buttercups and Dinosaurs

1 April 2011

A fossil member of the Ranunculae flowering plant family, which includes buttercups, marsh marigolds and water crowfoot, among others, has been found in volcanic ash beds of an ancient lake in China. The plant, when it was alive, was probably growing in a marsh habitat – or at the least, in moist conditions. It is said to date back 125 million years ago (see www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331142217.htm ). The news release, from Indiana University, was made to highlight an article in Nature (March 2011) and does not say how the date was ascertained – but presumably geochronology was involved. The deposit has been defined as early Cretaceous.

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