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July 25, 2012

Ginkgo: Virgin Mary 'miracle' tree in New York

Catholics in West New York are flocking to what they say is the miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary's image in a tree trunk.
This tree appears to be a Ginkgo.
Location: between 60th Street and Bergenline Avenue in West New York, New Jersey.
Read more in The New York Times and (with video) Huffington Post New York and here and watch a video on YouTube by New York Post:


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July 24, 2012

Video: animated history of ginkgos

Vimeo video: CreatureCast - Ginkgo by Casey Dunn. Eliza Cohen, from Erika Edwards' Plant Diversity course at Brown University (Biol 0430), tells the history of ginkgos.
Music by bitbasic. The animations were photographed at the Brown University Science Center. Thanks also to the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.

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July 18, 2012

Cretaceous insect pollinator and Ginkgo

Reconstruction of a sample of Gymnopollisthrips
on an ovulate organ of an extinct ginkgo.

More than 110 million years ago, in the age of the dinosaurs, a group of insects delivering pollen became trapped in resin beads. An international research team found four female thysanopterans, also called thrips, that had been enclosed in the amber in Álava (North of Spain) for 105-110 million years, with their bodies covered with pollen of gymnosperms.
It is the oldest evidence of pollination discovered so far —and the only one from the Mesozoic Era— that has been presented in a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), May 2012.
One of the females became trapped in the resin when transporting 140 pollen grains, whereas another was transporting 137 grains. These insects are less than two millimetres long and exhibit highly specialized hairs with a ringed structure which had never been seen before and which increases their ability to collect and transport pollen grains. These hairs are very similar to the ones of bees, which have the same function. The study concludes that pollen is from a kind of cycad or ginkgo tree. Only one species of ginkgo trees, Ginkgo biloba, currently survives, which is considered a living fossil.

For which evolutionary reason did these tiny insects, 100 million years ago, collect and transport ginkgo pollen? Their ringed hairs cannot have grown due to an evolutionary selection benefitting the trees. The benefit for the thrips can only be explained by the possibility to feed their larvae with pollen.
Why came these tiny insects of the Cretaceous, whose species was named Gymnopollisthrips by researchers, to thrust in the pollen of plants? The researchteam assumes that this species formed colonies with larvae living in the ovules of some kind of ginkgo for shelter and protection, and female insects transported pollen from the male ginkgo cones to the female ovules to feed the larvae and at the same time pollinate the trees.

Read more on my website.

Picture: Enrique Peñalver

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July 12, 2012

Chinese movie: love affair and Ginkgo

Chinese film, starring the Ginkgo!
Story: an old man looks back on the love affair he had on Sichuan University campus when he was young.
Video on YouTube.

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July 07, 2012

Update of my website The Ginkgo Pages

* New photo photospecial page: 7 Ginkgo trees in Bologna, Italy.

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July 06, 2012

Ginkgo sculpture in Australia

Ginkgo Drift

Photo by Miss Seahorse on

This sculpture was shown on the artsCape Sculpture Biennial 2010, an exhibition of environmental sculpture at Byron Bay in Australia.

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