Discovery of world unique plant macrofossil in our collections
The discovery is remarkable for several reasons at once. First of all, due to its age of 432 million years it is by far the oldest macroscopic remains of a land plant and at the same time it amazes us by its size. Unit now the oldest plant remains from Ireland were only a few milometers long and even other findings from Silurian period from Great Britain or Brazil weren’t longer than 2,5 centimetres. Thus, it was assumed that such small plant couldn’t have contained vascular, permanent, let alone photosynthetic tissues. The palaeontologist Kevin Boyce even came to conclusion that these first plants couldn’t have been green. However, this theory was clearly refuted by the Czech discovery, which is almost 6 centimetres long. The size of the stem of the newly categorised specimen unmistakably proves that this Cooksonia definitely had a wide enough body to ensure basic function of a vascular plant including photosynthesis, distribution of water and nutrients and therefore was able to exist independently.