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Is this a plant version of the Cambrian explosion?


Or do the plants have a better one?

From “Oldest Fossilized Forest: Entire Fossil Forest Dating Back 385 Million Years Unearthed”, (ScienceDaily, February 29, 2012), we learn,

The researcher’s findings are published in the journal Nature (1st March). They describe bases of the ‘Gilboa trees’ as spectacular bowl-shaped depressions up to nearly two meters in diameter, surrounded by thousands of roots. These are known to be the bases of trees up to about 10 meters in height, that looked something like a palm tree or a tree fern. One of the biggest surprises was that the researchers found many woody horizontally-lying stems, up to about 15cm thick, which they have demonstrated to be the ground-running trunks of another type of plant [aneurophytalean progymnosperm], only previously known from its upright branches. They also found one large example of a tree-shaped club moss, the type of tree that commonly forms coal seams in younger rocks across Europe and North America.

Dr Berry said: “All this demonstrates that the ‘oldest forest’ at Gilboa was a lot more ecologically complex than we had suspected, and probably contained a lot more carbon locked up as wood than we previously knew about. This will enable more refined speculation about the way in which the evolution of forests changed this Earth.

thanks r2d3,
World's Oldest Fossilised Forest Unearthed in NY - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBp3obZkX4o audio: http://www.cbc.ca/video/news/audioplayer.html?clipid=2204911172
http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/episode/2012/03/03/march-3-2012/ [snip] The Oldest Forest The world's oldest fossilized forest - more than 380 million years old - has been uncovered in a site near the Catskill Mountains of New York. Fossil tree trunks were originally found at this site in the 20's but it was subsequently buried in the construction of a dam. New work on the dam has uncovered the forest again, and Dr. William Stein, a Professor of Biological Sciences at Binghamton University in New York, and his group, found not just trees, but the preserved forest floor, including soil and root systems. This gives them much more information about the complete ecosystem that would have existed. Since plants had only colonized land some tens of millions of years before, this is likely very close to the dawn of the evolution of forests. Listen to this item (pop up player) or use this link to download an mp3. r2d3

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