Oregon State University (OSU) fossil research has revealed an exquisite merger of art and science: a long-stemmed flower of a newly described plant species encased in a 30-million-year-old tomb together with a parasitic wasp.

30-Million-Year-Old Art

The ‘petite’ flower represents the Art Nouveau style that emphasizes elegant curves and long lines.

“Based on interests, background and current environment, everybody has their own way of interpreting visual images in the natural world,” OSU College of Science's George Poinar Jr. said. “Thus an organism can be described, given a scientific name and then stored away in a taxonomic hierarchy. The same organism can be regarded as an art object and even assigned to a particular art period.”

The study by Poinar, published in Historical Biology, reports the first description of a fossil flower of the Euphorbiaceae family in amber, in this case amber from the Dominican Republic, home to some of the world’s clearest fossilized tree resin.


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