Scientists unearth 386 million years old world's oldest forest in a New York sandstone quarry.
The fossil forest in Cairo would have spread from New York all the way into Pennsylvania and beyond, according to the researchers from Binghamton University, and New York State Museum, US.
The forest is reportedly around 2 or 3 million years older than what was thought to be the world's oldest forest at Gilboa, also in New York State and around 40km away from the Cairo site. The finding, published in the journal Current Biology throws new light on the evolution of trees and transformative role they played in shaping the world we live in today.
The team, including researchers from Cardiff University in the UK, mapped over 3000 square meters of the forest at the abandoned quarry in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in the Hudson Valley. Chris Berry from Cardiff University said that this would have looked like a fairly open forest with small to moderate sized coniferous- looking trees with individual and clumped tree- fern like plants of possibly smaller size growing between them.
The research also shows that the forest was a home to atleast two types of trees: Cladoxylopsids and Archaeopteris.
A single example of a third type of tree was also uncovered, which remained unidentified but could possibly have been a lycopod, as said by the researchers.
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