The Abominable Mystery

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Science  27 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5394, pp. 1653-1654
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5394.1653

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The question of how flowering plants (called angiosperms) evolved and their relationship to other plants has puzzled botanists for a century--a riddle that Charles Darwin called the "abominable mystery." In his Perspective, Crepet discusses a new fossil discovery reported by Sun et al. in the same issue. Reproductive structures from northeast China are identified by Sun et al. as evidence for a Jurassic angiosperm. Crepet reviews the current understanding of angiosperm evolution and how this new finding fits into the picture of flowering plant origins.