Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mystery Of Fossilized Trees Is Solved

Date:
April 19, 2007
Source:
Cardiff University
Summary:
An international team of researchers has identified two fossils found near Gilboa, upstate New York, as being the earliest known examples of forest trees.

Line drawing showing how the tree might have looked (Wattieza attached to Eospermatopteris).
Credit: Frank Mannolini/New York State Museum

An international research team has found evidence of the Earth's earliest forest trees, dating back 385 million years.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cardiff University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cardiff University. "Mystery Of Fossilized Trees Is Solved." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070418130435.htm>.
Cardiff University. (2007, April 19). Mystery Of Fossilized Trees Is Solved. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070418130435.htm
Cardiff University. "Mystery Of Fossilized Trees Is Solved." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070418130435.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins