World's oldest forest discovered by State Museum researchers

General discussions of forests and trees that do not focus on a specific species or specific location.

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edfrank
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World's oldest forest discovered by State Museum researchers

Post by edfrank » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:49 pm

World's oldest forest discovered by State Museum researchers
By Paul Grondahl
Updated 02:43 p.m., Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article ... z1noWVJBqA
ALBANY — State Museum researchers are part of a team of international scientists who reported Wednesday the discovery of the world's oldest forest, about 385 million years old, near the Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County.

The find will be published in a March 1 cover article in Nature, a leading international journal of science. An illustration on the magazine's cover depicts a surreal landscape: a dense tropical forest dominated by spindly, reed-like trees reaching 50 feet and higher and topped by a spiky appendage of webbed twigs that resemble today's sago palm.

This period marked the earliest evolution of trees and their twiggy crowns were precursors to broad, flat leaves on the trees we see today. They reproduced through spores instead of seeds in the ancient forest.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article ... z1noWcw2HI
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"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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edfrank
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Re: World's oldest forest discovered by State Museum researc

Post by edfrank » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:58 am

A land lost to time is big find for museum
Scientists say world's oldest forest in Gilboa predates dinosaurs
By Paul Grondahl
Updated 11:23 p.m., Wednesday, February 29, 2012

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article ... z1o441kg1G


Click on image to see its original size


Click on image to see its original size
Examining the forest floor are various scientists and researchers from various disciplines, including geologist Charles Ver Straeten (far right) and Linda VanAller Hernick (second from right) of the State Museum at the Gilboa Dam in 2010.
ALBANY — State Museum researchers are part of a team of international scientists who reported Wednesday the discovery of the world's oldest forest, about 385 million years old, near the Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County.

The find will be published in a March 1 cover article in Nature, a leading international journal of science. An illustration on the magazine's cover depicts a surreal landscape: a dense tropical forest dominated by spindly, reed-like trees reaching 50 feet and higher and topped by a spiky appendage of webbed twigs that resemble today's sago palm.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article ... z1o493oVqy
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Lee Frelich
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Re: World's oldest forest discovered by State Museum researc

Post by Lee Frelich » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:09 pm

Ed:

Interesting forest--the biggest trees look like big horsetails, and also interesting that the tallest trees didn't have wood, and the wood that another species did have was below ground rhizomes. Because evolution is essentially a process by which new things are made with part's available from existing things, once an upright species with wood evolved, trees became much taller and the understory darker, and having underground wood rhizomes became a maladapted dead end, and instead today we have minimally woody rhizomes.

I probably won't discover any such forests in Minnesota--I don't think we have any rocks as young as 390 million years old. We do have some Silurian limestones and dolomites in the Midwest that have numerous crinoids and stromatolites and various corals--I have a big collection of them. I don't think we have any fossils from that era that were not marine environments--so no evidence of trees or land plants if there were any.

Lee

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