Everything Dinosaur’s Second Anniversary – How old is Cotton?

Time flies when you are having fun.  Today, August 1st marks the second anniversary of the formal setting up of Everything Dinosaur.  The company had been around for sometime prior to this but we had to provide a a formal date of start-up for our accountants and August 1st seemed to be as good a day as any.

The last two years have really flown by, the business had taken nearly 5 years to plan and now that we are into our third year it is hard to believe how far we have come.  We are lucky, as collectively the Everything Dinosaur team members have a lot of experience in dinosaur research and information, as well as the all important knowledge of retail and customer service.

The Everything Dinosaur Logo

Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur logo.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Traditionally, in occidental countries, the second anniversary is associated with cotton.  Marking the second anniversary of a dinosaur company’s formal establishment with cotton is very appropriate.  Cotton is one of the most important crops grown and it has been associated with clothing our species for thousands of years and with Everything Dinosaur’s range of dinosaur themed clothing, it seems a good subject to discuss on our second anniversary.  Palaeontologists and archaeologists excavating Bronze Age settlements in Mexico dated from 5,000 BC have found evidence of cotton fibres in ancients furs.  Perhaps our ancestors were wearing cotton as early as 7,000 years ago.

The family that the cotton plants belong to Malvaceae, this is a very ancient group of angiosperms (flowering plants) and cotton may date back to the age of Dinosaurs.  So it is apt to celebrate our second anniversary with an article on this fascinating plant.  Cotton belongs to a sub-division of the Malvaceae called Gossypieae and there are a number of different species of cotton plant.  The great diversity of cotton species has led some scientists to speculate that this family must be very ancient and perhaps it dates back to the later part of the Mesozoic, the time of the dinosaurs.

Cotton is also native to both the Old World (Asia) and the New World (America).  Scientists have used this fact to speculate that the ancestors of modern cotton must have been around before the break up of the super-continent Gondwanaland – again this evidence points to early cotton plants being around during the Cretaceous.  Who knows, early cotton shrubs could have been grazed upon by long-necked Sauropods or Iguanodontids.

The fossil record does not quite support these theories.  To the best of our knowledge no pollen associated with early types of Gossypieae have been discovered in Cretaceous sediments.  The micro-fossil evidence we have for cotton plants is extremely poor.  The earliest pollen remains date back to approximately 40 mya (Eocene epoch).  Fossilised impressions of the actual plants are even rarer.

The lack of fossil evidence does not disprove the theory that herbivorous dinosaurs could well have grazed on ancient cottons.  Cotton is a shrub and it is native to tropical and sub-tropical forests.  Forest habitats do not lend themselves to the process of fossilisation.  If cotton’s ancient ancestors also lived in forests then the conditions to allow preservation to occur would only happen very rarely – perhaps this explains the lack of evidence.

Our best hope to prove that cotton was around in the Cretaceous is to look at the micro-fossils, perhaps some keen, bright eyed, young palaeontologist is about to make an amazing discovery…

Even something as everyday as cotton, a substance we all take for granted is capable of confusing palaeontologists.

To mark our second anniversary Everything Dinosaur has added a new range of 100% cotton dinosaur T-shirts to our clothing range.  They come in a range of sizes from 3 years to 8 years and lots of bright colours.

Our new T-shirts feature animals like Diplodocus and T. rex, we even have a dinosaur ABC.  Sales of these items help support real palaeontologists and researchers at the Natural History museum London.

Everything Dinosaur’s website for clothing and dinosaur themed models and toys: Everything Dinosaur – Dinosaur Toys, Models and Gifts.

It is hard to believe but the great, great, great etc. grandparent of the cotton plant that produced the fibre which went to make that T-shirt you are wearing could well have been munched on by a hungry dinosaur.