Lantern Fruit

Living fossil fruit found, as reported in BBC News, Science (AAAS) News and ScienceDaily 5 January 2017, and Science, doi:10.1126/science.aag2737, 6 January 2017.

Lantern fruit are member of the genus Phytalis and include tomatillos and ground cherries. They are named “lanterns” because their berries are surrounded by a papery calyx, very like cape gooseberries.

Researchers from USA and Argentine have studied the fossil of a lantern fruit found in rocks in Patagonia dated as 52 million years old. The fossil has been named Phytalis infinemundi and consists of a berry turned to coal surrounded by a thin layer with very well preserved pattern of veins, just like the calyces of living members of the Phytalis genus.

Fossilised fruits are rare, as Peter Wilf, of Pennsylvania State University, who led the study, explained to the BBC: “It’s the only fossil fruit ever found of this whole group of plants, that now has over 2,000 species. A lot of the evolutionary history of life, especially plants, which are rare as fossils, is largely unknown. Here we have this discovery of these incredibly rare, delicate fossils – here you have a berry surrounded by this papery calyx – it’s almost unheard of that such a thing could be fossilised”. The researchers hope to find more fossil plants in the same region of Patagonia.

One of the scientists, Rubén Cúneo of Museo Palentologico Egidio Ferulgio, commented: “Palaeobotanical discoveries in Patagonia are probably destined to revolutionise some traditional views on the origin and evolution of the plant kingdom”.

BBC, Science, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Actually this new fossil tells us nothing about the evolution of the plant kingdom, simply because the coalified berry and its surrounding calyx are the same as the living lantern fruit, and show no signs of having evolved from other plants or evolving into a different one.

Peter Wilf is correct about fossil fruits being rare, especially with the degree of fine preservation seen in this fossil. We all know that fruit loses its structure very quickly if it falls to the ground and rots. This editor has a big garden and can confirm that present day Tomatillos and their relatives rarely last more than two weeks, even in the refrigerator. The degree of preservation seen in this new fossil shows it was buried very quickly and deeply. Any rock layer containing such fossil fruit with delicate structures preserved was, therefore, never laid down slowly and gradually as uniformitarian geologists claim.

If more fossil plants like this “living fossil” are found in Patagonia, the most revolutionary idea they should inspire is that these plants have not evolved, but rather show all the evidence consistent with having been created as fully formed functional separate kinds, which are still reproducing after their own kind, and have done since whenever they were rapidly buried until now, just as Genesis tells us.

Evidence News vol. 17, No.1
1 February 2017
Creation Research Australia

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