Fossilised fern nearly identical to modern relative

Researchers in Sweden have unearthed a 180 million year old fossilised fern in near pristine condition.

The fossil, found in a bed of volcanic rock, was so well preserved that microscopic analysis revealed its cell cytoplasm, nuclei and chromosomes.

The research team, from Lund University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, compared the sub-cellular parts to those of a modern relative, the cinnamon fern. They discovered the number of chromosomes and DNA content were a very close match.

The team said it is an example of evolutionary stasis, and suggested the fossil provides insight into how life can evolve over geologic time.

Read more at Lund University