Scientists have found a petrified wood resin 110 million years old – it belongs to the Cretaceous period and is the oldest resin found so far. The discovery was made by researchers from Portsmouth University, it is described in the journal Scientific Reports.
Gum or petrified wood resin consists of a mixture of high molecular weight sugars that plants secrete together with the juice when damage appears on their trunk or shoots.
For several decades, scientists believed that gum can not be stored for several thousand years – the fact is that it dissolves with water. Groundwater can easily wash it out of the ground before it is petrified. An indirect confirmation of this was the fact that so far scientists have not been able to find ancient samples of this substance.
This hypothesis was refuted by a new discovery by scientists – during excavations in the eastern part of Brazil, researchers discovered gum in the so-called Krato formation, rocks that were formed about 110 million years ago. This happened during the Cretaceous period, when the southern supercontinent of Gondwana had not yet managed to completely split into two halves – Africa and South America.
“What surprised me most was that the petrified juice of Welwitschia, which grew in what is now Brazil 110 million years ago, turned out to be identical in the chemical composition of the gum of its modern African relatives. This is a very interesting discovery, given that Africa and South America during the Cretaceous were a single continent”.
David Martill, lead author of the study