The Prehistory Of The Fruit Cocktail

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Pablo Edronkin

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Humans are not the first to enjoy fruit fiestas and feasts: many animals since ancient times have been eating plants of all sorts, including fruits and flowers after they evolved thorough natural selection.

It seems that fruits and flowers appeared on earth around seventy million years ago, and that they were part of the diet of dinosaurs as well as the small mammals that lived then.

What we eat now.
What we eat now.

But the problem that scientists have in order to get to know more about ancient fruits is that soft tissues and matter seldom gets fossilised; this is why almost all fossils comprise skeletons or loose bones.

And transform into marmalade overnight.
And transform into marmalade overnight.

There are indeed some exceptional cases in which other types of organic matter gets fossilised, but they are rare, and from ancient times, mostly seeds and pollen is what remains fairly intact; it is exceedingly rare to find something as a fruit in such a state.

Was available to animals like these insects a log time ago.
Was available to animals like these insects a log time ago.

So, there are some species which are only known indirectly thorough coprolites (fossil faeces) or when the contents of the stomach of an animal do get fossilised too. Such specimens are indeed of very high value, both for scientists as well as collectors.

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