Earth Science News  





. Mystery Of Fossilized Trees Is Solved

One of the prehistoric tree stumps found at Gilboa - Eospermatopteris from Gilboa, NY. The specimen was originally collected in the 1920's associated with the building of Gilboa Dam. Credit: W. Stein.
by Staff Writers
Cardiff UK (SPX) Apr 20, 2007
An international research team has found evidence of the Earth's earliest forest trees, dating back 385 million years. Upright stumps of fossilised trees were uncovered after a flash flood in Gilboa, upstate New York, more than a century ago. However, until now, no-one has known what the entire trees looked like.

Two years ago, two fossils were found near Gilboa of trees which had fallen sideways, with their trunk, branches, twigs and crown still intact.

American researchers called in Dr Christopher Berry of Cardiff University, an expert who has studied tree fossils around the world for the last 17 years. Dr Berry was able to identify the trunks as being of the genus Wattieza, a tree fern-like plant.

Small fragments of Wattieza have been found in the past, but there was no direct evidence of how large the plant could grow. The new specimens show that they reached at least 8 metres in height and formed the first known forests on earth.

Dr Berry, of Cardiff's School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, said: "This is a spectacular find, which has allowed us to recreate these early forest ecosystems. Branches from the trees would have fallen to the floor and decayed, providing a new food chain for the bugs living below.

"This was also a significant moment in the history of the planet. The rise of the forests removed a lot of Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. This caused temperatures to drop and the planet became very similar to its present-day condition."

Dr Berry worked with colleagues from Binghampton University, New York and from New York State Museum, which discovered the two trunk fossils. Their findings are published in the April 19 edition of the scientific journal Nature.

Email This Article

Related Links
Cardiff University
Explore The Early Earth at TerraDaily.com
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

Ancient Amphibians Evolved A Bite Before Migrating To Dry Land
Cambridge MA (SPX) Apr 17, 2007
Ancient aquatic amphibians developed the ability to feed on land before completing the transition to terrestrial life, researchers from Harvard University report this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Wireless Sensors Limit Earthquake Damage
  • DigitalGlobe And GeoEye Partner With The USGS In Support Of International Charter
  • Tsunami Emergency In Solomons Declared Over
  • Philippine Survivors Left Feeling Forgotten

  • Scientists To Track Impact Of Asian Dust And Pollution On Weather And Climate
  • Security Council Holds Landmark Debate On Climate Change
  • Want To Monitor Climate Change Pick Up A Penguin
  • Trans Atlantic Rift Not That Great On Global Warming

  • Scientists Meet To Review Envisat Results After Five Years Of Operations
  • US Uses Landsat Satellite Data To Fight Hunger And Poverty
  • NOAA And NASA Restore Climate Sensor To Upcoming NPP Satellite
  • High-Resolution Images Herald New Era In Earth Sciences

  • Shanghai To Shut Down 29 Coal Power Plants By 2010
  • Co2 Storage In Coal Can Be Predicted Better
  • UCLA Chemists Design Lowest-Density Crystals Ever For Use In Clean Energy
  • Researchers Find Large Is Smart When It Comes To Cities

  • HIV Treatment Goal Elusive
  • Bird Flu Genome Study Shows New Strains As new Infections Spread
  • Ebola Outbreaks Killing Thousands Of Gorillas And Chimpanzees
  • Total Hepatitis C Cure Possible

  • Swedish Scientific Breakthrough On Planting Blooming Was Faked
  • New Undersea Vent Suggests Snake-Headed Mythology
  • Misclassified For Centuries Medicinal Leeches Found To Be Three Distinct Species
  • Russia To Make Polar Bear Hunting Legal

  • Coal Burning Having A Devastating Impact On Rural Chinese
  • Chinese Economy Reaching Limits
  • Plastic That Degrades In Seawater A Boon For Cruise Industry
  • DHS Rolls Out New Chemical Plant Regulations

  • Scientist Says Cremation Should Meet A Timely Death
  • Egyptian Faithful Crave New Islamic Gadgets
  • Liver Regeneration May Be Simpler Than Previously Thought
  • Rhesus Macaque Genome Helps Illuminate What Makes Us Human

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement