Pollen: Good for more than hay fever

Misc_pollen_colorized

 

Just look at that stuff. Magnified 500 times (the image is colorized), it’s easy to see why some people’s noses and eyes respond unhappily to the invasion of this vegetative sperm. On the other hand, without it plants would reproduce and the world would be left dead and sterile.

It turns out pollen is great for science, as well. Pollen lasts for a long, long time – millions of years when fossilized.  A 3,200-year drought and cold wave destroyed a late Bronze Age thriving society near present-day Tel Aviv and far beyond, and until now scientists had no clue as to why – but pollen appears to have solved the mystery.

According to The Jewish Press,

A study of fossil pollen particles in sediments extracted from the bottom of the Sea of Galilee has revealed evidence of a climate crisis that traumatized the Near East from the middle of the 13th to the late 12th century BCE. The crisis brought about the collapse of the great empires of the Bronze Age.

Even older, analysis of pollen hundreds of millions of years old showed that flowers may have existed as early as the first dinosaurs, according to an article in LiveScience.

Newfound fossils hint that flowering plants arose 100 million years earlier than scientists previously thought, suggesting flowers may have existed when the first known dinosaurs roamed Earth.

Under high magnification, these little grains are beautiful, and it seems very useful to scientific research. But that is cold comfort to those who suffer from hay fever, a malady from which I have been blessedly exempt – but having watched my kids suffer, I have endless sympathy for those who do.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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