A fossil fern from 180 million years ago was recently unearthed in Sweden. It was so stunningly preserved that its nuclei and chromosomes were visible under a microscope.
Under a microscope, the pith in the cells reveal preserved nuclei and nucleoli.
Cutting through the stem of the fossilized fern revealed nuclei in the ground tissue of the pith
Here, another view of cells in the fern, with nuclei clearly visible.
Here, the preserved nuclei are revealed under synchrotron radiation microscopy in a glowing blue hue.
Compared to nuclei of the modern-day cinammon fern (right), the nuclei of the ancient fern (left) are comparable in size.
Here, another view of the very similar nuclei. The fact that the nuclei and genetic content are similar between the two suggests not much has changed evolutionarily for this family of plants in 180 million years.
A Japanese royal fern, Osmunda japonica, growing on Mount Takao, Japan, is a close relative of the extinct fern.
The rootstuck of a royal fern (Osmunda regalis) found growing in Lund, Sweden. The royal fern is a close relative to its Jurassic predecessor.
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Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.