TIME plants

15 Million-Year-Old Flower Found ‘Perfectly Preserved’ in Amber

Handout of the flower Strychnos electri encased in amber
George Poinar—Handout/Reuters The flower, Strychnos electri, encased in amber, is shown in this handout photo provided by George Poinar of Oregon State University, Feb. 15, 2016.

Just like in Jurassic Park

Researchers have discovered a new flower species that has been “perfectly preserved” in amber, much like in the dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park.

The two flowers have been kept intact in the amber for at least 15 million years, according to researchers from Oregon State University and Rutgers University. They are fossil specimens from the rare asterid family, specifically from the genus Strychnos, Forbes reports.

“The specimens are beautiful, perfectly preserved fossil flowers, which at one point in time were borne by plants that lived in a steamy tropical forest with both large and small trees, climbing vines, palms, grasses and other vegetation,” said Oregon State’s George Poinar, Jr., whose work inspired the original Jurassic Park novel.

Rutgers botany professor Lena Struwe named the species Strychnos electri after the Greek word for amber. “Strychnos electri has likely been extinct for a long time,” she said in a statement. “But many new species living and, unfortunately, soon-to-be-extinct species are discovered by scientists every year.”

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