Fossilized trees dating back 386 million years have been discovered at an abandoned quarry in New York.
Scientists believe they’ve found a forest so gigantic that it once stretched beyond Pennsylvania from the quarry in Cairo, New York — nestled in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains.
The finding could increase our understanding of the evolution of trees and how they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
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Experts from several British and American universities have spent more than 10 years mapping over 3,000 square meters of the forest, coming to the conclusion that it was home to at least two types of trees: Cladoxylopsids and Archaeopteris.
“This is the oldest place where you can wander around and map out where fossil trees were standing back in the middle part of the Devonian era,” paleobotanist Chris Berry, from Cardiff University, told BBC News.
The point in time that the fossil trees date back to marks a transition between a planet with no forests and a planet that is largely covered in trees.
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“It’s a very ancient forest from the beginnings of the time where the planet was turning green and forests were becoming a normal part of the Earth’s system,” Berry said.
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The group’s findings were published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.