The compounds behind the perfumes and colognes that you enjoy today have attracted even dinosaurs 65 milion years ago, a new research reveals. The researchers found evidence that floral scents originated from primitive flowers as far back as 100 million years ago as pollinator attractants.
The flower-based chemical compounds that are the basis for the modern-day perfumes and colognes have been providing olfactory excitement to pollinating insects and other animals since the mid-Cretaceous Period, the study showed.
"I bet some of the dinosaurs could have detected the scents of these early flowers," said George Poinar, entomologist at the Oregon State University in the US.
The team examined amber flowers from Burma, including the now extinct glandular laurel flower (Cascolaurus burmensis) and veined star flower (Tropidogyne pentaptera). Without colourful petals, these flowers relied solely on scents to attract pollinators.
"It's obvious, flowers were producing scents to make themselves more attractive to pollinators long before humans began using perfumes to make themselves more appealing to other humans," Poinar said.
The floral secretory tissues producing these scents include nectaries--, glands that produce fragrances and sweet deposits that insects love, glandular trichomes, hairs with cells that make and send out scented secretory products, eliaphores, stalked aromatic oil glands, and osmophores--also known as floral fragrance glands, are cell clusters specialising in scent emission.
Further, the secretory tissues of these Cretaceous flowers are similar in structure to those of their modern descendants, suggesting that modern and ancient flowers of the same lineages produced similar essences, the researchers noted.