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.

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 July 29, 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 July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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