Vedere la Scienza Festival

International Scientific TV, Film and AV Media Festival

Milano   31/3/2008 - 6/4/2008

Spazio Oberdan, viale Vittorio Veneto 2 - Milano

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First Flower



  1. Original Title: First Flower
  2. Author: Doug Hamilton
  3. Photography: Mark Knobil, Erich Roland, Mike Coles, Rob Fortunato, Jon Shenk, Dan Krauss
  4. Music: Tay Chee Wei, Declaffer Music Studios Singapore
  5. Sound: Mark Roberts, Robert "Sully" Sullivan, Rick Albright, Doug Dunderdale
  6. Production: NOVA, WGBH
  7. USA
  8. 57 min.
  9. 2007

Fragrant and decorative, flowers are the basis of our food chain. Almost all our food, including wheat, corn and rice, is derived from them. But, for the plant, flowers are an enormous drain on limited resources, so why even have flowers? Because they manage the reproductive biology of the plant and in so doing they ensure the renewal of the species. The story of flower evolution is integrally linked with that of pollinators like insects and birds. This co-evolution has been largely responsible for their remarkable diversity, which enables them to adapt to chaging climates and environments.
The origin of flowering plants is one of botany’s oldest mysteries. Darwin called it “an abominable mystery” because it defied his understanding. But the finding of a fossil flower called Archefructus in China in 1996 has spawned a lively debate that has made the headlines of prestigious publications such as Science and the New York Times. Is this really the first flower, i.e. the first plant in history to have pollen and reproductive organs just like modern flowers? Two teams of scientists have set out to solve this mystery. The documentary follows them. Shedding light on the evolution of flowering plants is a challenging task, since most of them decompose long before they can turn into fossils. While one team focuses on fossil remains, the other is searching for clues hidden in living plants.
The full mystery of how flowering plants began has not been solved. It is still a mystery, but no longer an abominable one…

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