Carnivorous plant fossil: Why did some plants evolve to eat insects? (VIDEO).

Why Did Carnivorous Plants Evolve to Eat Insects?

Why Did Carnivorous Plants Evolve to Eat Insects?

The state of the universe.
Dec. 8 2014 11:21 AM

The Strange Rise of Carnivorous Plants

Tracing the first fossil of an insect-killing plant.

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BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 20: A Venus fly trap consumes a dead fly as it sits on display at a presentation of carnivorous plants at the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden on July 20, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Carnivorous plants derive most of their nutrients by consuming animals, most commonly flying, foraging, or crawling insects, and have adapted to grow in places where the soil does not contain enough nutrients for them to survive. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images

The fossil record is light on carnivorous plants, but researchers know several flowering plants evolved separately to consume bugs. The video above considers the first known fossil of such a plant—uncovered in amber—and the striking different forms the plants eventually took.