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“Some groups of plants are suspected to be closely related.

But the evidence is weak, and most of these groups are thought to be too specialized to be at the [ancestral] base of the flowering plants.”6 Evolutionists have generally believed flowers evolved around 130–140 million years ago and diversified to become the dominant form of plant life by about 90 million years ago.

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Hochuli says, “We believe that even highly cautious scientists will now be convinced that flowering plants evolved long before the Cretaceous.” Evolutionists have long been puzzled about how flowers could diversify to fill the earth so rapidly after they evolved.

From their Early Cretaceous appearance 130–140 million years ago, evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record concludes they rapidly diversified to dominate the botanical world by 90 million years ago.

Flower evolution has long been assigned to the Early Cretaceous period.

New discoveries, however, have found that the roots of floral origins and diversity reach down into the Middle Triassic, dated at about 243 million years.

The Triassic pollen just places the dilemma deeper—and from the evolutionary point of view, older.

“So far, no direct ancestors of flowering plants are known,” Hochuli said.

A Chinese team led by Xin Wang has also reported a floral fossil from the Early Jurassic.

Those discoveries plus the presence of diverse types of pollen in these samples suggest, the researchers believe, that floral diversity had already evolved by the time the dinosaurs made their appearance.

Estimates point to origins much earlier (275 mya) than the “new” pollen-based time, much later (147 mya), and many possibilities in between.3 Molecular clock dating is ordinarily calibrated in accordance with the fossil record—a source of much circular reasoning, incidentally—but the scarcity of floral fossils has rendered clocking flowers a difficult proposition.

“That is why the present finding of flower-like pollen from the Triassic is significant,”4 Hochuli says.

“This sudden appearance has bothered scientists ever since Darwin, who called the origin of flowering plants an ‘abominable mystery,’”5 Hochuli says.

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