Researchers from the Universities of Binghamton in the US and Cardiff in Wales have made a ground-breaking find in an abandoned quarry close to Cairo, New York: they have uncovered the oldest forest on Earth. The fossils offer a unique look into Earth’s distant history since they are lodged in rocks that date back an astounding 385 million years.
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The former extent of the forest is thought to have been about 400 km². According to accounts, this forest is older than some of the oldest forests in the world today, including the Yakushima Forest in Japan and the Amazon rainforest.
This is the oldest known forest on Earth, according to palaeobotanists’ several analyses of petrified roots discovered imbedded in the local rocks. This amazing finding reveals the history of a period of time that predates the emergence of humans. When you consider this woodland, consider the era of the dinosaurs.
The fact that the ancient trees in this forest did not spread by seed release, in contrast to their modern counterparts, is another feature of the forest that has puzzled scholars. In actuality, they were spore-reproductive. This distinct quality adds an intriguing dimension to our comprehension of ancient ecosystems. The fact that fungi reproduce similarly is interesting to notice.
This discovery promises to expand our knowledge of Earth’s early ecosystems and provide a window into the fascinating world of ancient plants and the processes that shaped our planet over millions of years, as researchers continue to explore the mysteries hidden in the rocks near Cairo, New York.
Other extant examples of ancient woodlands are the over 180 million-year-old Daintree Rainforest in Australia, the over 65 million-year-old Tarkine Rainforest in Tasmania, the over 8000-year-old Bialowieza Forest in Poland, and the enormous sequoia trees found in Sequoia National Park in the United States, some of which have stood for over 3,000 years. Freshwater swamp forests that have existed for millions of years may also be found in the Western Ghats hills of India.
These old trees are a sight to behold, evoking the splendor of bygone times while acting as priceless repositories of Earth’s past.