Did dinosaurs stop to smell the flowers? According to articles in ScienceDaily 7 August 2018 and Historical Biology, doi: 10.1080/08912963.2018.1502288 published online 25 July 2018, they could have.
Many flowers attract pollinators by producing fragrances. George Poinar, an entomologist at Oregon State University and his son Greg, a perfume collector, have examined fossil flowers found in Burmese and Dominican amber to see if they contained fragrance producing structures like those found in living flowers. George Poinar explained: “You can’t detect scents or analyse the chemical components of fossil flowers, but you can find the tissues responsible for the scents.”
Fragrances are volatile chemicals which may be secreted into the flower’s nectar by glands named nectaries, as well as being produced by specialised structures, known as osmophores and eliapores, which make and release fragrant oils. Flowers also emit fragrances from glandular trichomes – hairs containing cells that produce various kinds of secretions.
The researchers found a milkweed flower (Discoflorus neotropicus) and an acacia flower with multiple stamens (Senegalia eocaribbeansis) in the Dominican amber. The petals of the milkweed flower contained osmophores and glandular trichomes. The acacia flower had many small stalked nectaries on its stamens. A small stingless bee was also preserved in the amber among the stamens of this flower.
The Burmese amber contained an extinct glandular laurel flower (Cascolaurus burmensis) and a veined star flower (Tropidogyne pentaptera). The laurel flower lacked petals but had large nectaries at the top of the flower. The star flower had glandular trichomes and eliapores secreting oil on its sepals.
The Burmese amber is dated as Early Cretaceous, 97 to 110 million years, a time considered to be when dinosaurs ruled the earth. According to ScienceDaily “The study also found that secretory tissues of these Cretaceous flowers are similar in structure to those of their modern descendants. That suggests modern and ancient flowers of the same lineages produced similar essences.”
George Poinar commented: “I bet some of the dinosaurs could have detected the scents of these early flowers. In fact, floral essences from these early flowers could even have attracted these giant reptiles.”
Editorial Comment: We have no doubt that dinosaurs could smell these and many other flowers, provided they had a sense of smell.
These fossil flowers confirm the Genesis account of creation. God created flowering plants as fully formed and equipped with all the features needed to function as part of the complete ecosystems He made during the six days of creation. Since flowers had all the structures needed to attract pollinators, ready to reproduce after their kinds, their fossils would also show it no matter when their fossils formed.
Small dinosaurs could have acted as pollinators of some flowers, just as some small animals do today. Dinosaurs certainly could have been seed dispersers, after the plants were pollinated and set seeds.
Fossil flowers are also a reminder that trying to insert long ages into the Genesis 1 narrative won’t work. God created all the different kinds of plants on the third day, and then created the flying creatures and land creatures that would be their pollinators and seed dispersers on the fifth and sixth day. There cannot be long ages between the creation days or the plants would have died out. The Genesis record becomes quite meaningless, and has no authority, unless you accept that the Creator Christ said what he meant and meant what he said.
Finally, these flowers did not only attract pollinators and dinosaurs. They were also meant to be pleasing to people, who were also created on the sixth day. We are told in Genesis 2:9 that Garden of Eden was filled with plants that were both pleasing to the eye and good for food. No doubt they were also pleasing to the nose. The fact that most perfumes are based on floral scents is a reminder that everything God made in the original very good world was both functional and beautiful. Christ our Creator loves beauty, and so should we, not for self-indulgence, but to honour our Creator and bring joy and stress relief to people.
Flowers are part of created ecosystems: see Diane’s Eager’s explanation in the video Darwin’s Evolution: A very unnatural selection. Preview here. Available from webshop as MP4 or DVD.
Evidence News vol. 18 No.12
22 August 2018
Creation Research Australia