An unexpected connection between the end of the dinosaurs and the spread of grapes

dinosaur extinction Due to the impact of a giant asteroid, it triggered a mass extinction that changed the course of life on Earth, although it also caused a “reboot” of the forest, leading to grape propagation.

Researchers from several American museums and universities have discovered new types of fossil grape varieties. between 60 and 19 million years, and among them the oldest that have been found in the Western Hemisphere. This Monday they publish the findings of their work in the journal. Natural plants.

The seeds were found in Colombia, Panama and Peru and studying these fossils has allowed researchers to deepen our knowledge of how this popular fruit family spread around the world after the death of the dinosaurs.

Soft tissues such as fruit are rarely preserved as fossils, so scientists typically conduct their research using seeds, which are more likely to fossilize, the researchers emphasized, recalling that The first remains of seeds were found in India They are about 66 million years old, around the time a huge asteroid hit the Earth and caused a mass extinction event that changed the course of life.

Researchers have hypothesized that the extinction of dinosaurs may have contributed to forest changes, as large animals tend to alter the ecosystems around them, and it is likely that they were cutting down trees and made forests more open and cleaner what is it these days.

The new forests that emerged after this extinction provided an opportunity for some plants, and the diversification of mammals and birds in the years following this mass extinction contributed to propagation of grapes by scattering their seeds.


Until now, fossil remains of grapes had never been found in South America, and the first ones discovered by researchers were in Colombian Andes. After field work they carried out in Central and South America, they discovered more remains of grapes in Colombia, Panama and Peru, ranging in age from 60 to 19 million years.

The fossil record “tells us that grapes are a very resilient species. “This is a group that has survived multiple extinctions in the Central and South American region, but has also managed to adapt and survive in other parts of the world,” he said. Fabiani Herreracurator of paleobotany at the Field Museum in Chicago and lead author of the study.

“We always think about animals, about dinosaurs, because they suffered the most, but the extinction also had a big impact on plants,” Herrera explained, noting that “the forest is rebooted in a way that changes the composition of the plant.

The researchers stressed that given the mass extinction that Earth is currently facing, such studies are very valuable because they reveal patterns in the development of organisms. biodiversity crisis and how forests develop.

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