Cretaceous rice reported in an article in Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1482, 20 September 2011. An international team of scientists studying Coprolites (fossil dung) from the Lameta Formation in India have found they contained phytoliths – microscopic deposits of silica found in the leaves of grasses. Each kind of grass has its own distinctively shaped phytoliths, so scientists can identify a plant from it phytoliths. In this case, the phytoliths along with fossilised fragments of epidermis and cuticles (surface layers) enabled them to identify the fossil plant remains as belonging “to the rice tribe, Oryzeae of grass subfamily Ehrhartoideae”. The Lameta formation is dated as Late Cretaceous – 65-67 million years ago, but grasses were believed to have not evolved until millions of years after this. The researchers concluded: “The new Oryzeae fossils suggest substantial diversification within Ehrhartoideae by the Late Cretaceous, pushing back the time of origin as a whole. These results, therefore, necessitate a re-evaluation of current models for grass evolution and palaeobiogeography”. (Poaceae are grasses.)

Editorial Comment: This study follows the report of phytoliths in dinosaur coprolites from the same rock formation in 2005. At that time the scientists said they would have to revise their understanding of the evolution of grasses and maybe add grass to dinosaur dioramas in museums. (See Nature news 17 November 2005) Furthermore, this new discovery find will not show how rice or any grasses “evolved from simpler plants” because the fossils found i.e. phytoliths and other plant fragments, were able to be identified simply because they looked like phytoliths and epidermis from modern rice plants. This is exactly what you would expect to find if the oldest rice plants are fully formed rice plants that have multiplied after their kind, just as Genesis says. However, the 2005 phytoliths and the scientist’s comments have proved totally ignorable, and sceptics continue to criticise Creation Research for suggesting dinosaurs ate grass and that grasses and grazing animals existed from the beginning, as the Genesis account says (Genesis 1:11). Therefore, we reiterate what we said before: Evolutionists may have to rethink their ideas, but this is another instance where Biblical Creation is a better science predictor than evolution.

Furthermore, we predict that when the evidence is all in, even the fossil record will show that all varieties of plants have existed together from the very beginning. (Ref. Angiosperms. Botany, grains, prediction)

Evidence News 26 October 2011