The toilet brushlike specimen from a Canadian quarry hints at the evolutionary experiments that occurred during a 15-million-year gap in the fossil record.
“This is a totally new and different kind of plant” than had been found in the Late Paleozoic Era, said Patricia Gensel, a professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and another author of the paper, published in Current Biology. She added, “We typically get bits and pieces of plants, or mineralized tree trunks, from Romer’s Gap. We don’t have many whole plants we can reconstruct. This one we can.”
The study was also featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Independent and other media outlets.