World’s oldest forests were much different from now

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Can you imagine trees almost three stories tall, with branches like bottlebrush? Well this is the description of the world’s oldest trees and more information on the same has been discovered through newfound fossils.

The 385-million-year-old fossils, which scientists believe are evidence of Earth’s earliest forest trees, put to rest speculation about fossilized tree stumps discovered more than a century ago in Gilboa, New York.

William Stein, a paleobiologist at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York is quoted to have said:

The fern-like trees are about 23 million years older than Archaeopteris, which resembled a modern tree, with conventional branches. Instead of leaves, the Wattieza had frond-like branches with branchlets that resembled a bottlebrush.

These trees grew slender and had an appearance that resembles palm trees. The tree branches fell to the forest floor, providing a potential food source and shelter for living creatures thus these early trees played a major role in establishing Earth’s first terrestrial ecosystems.
These first forests absorbed carbon dioxide, cooling the Earth’s surface and making way for the appearance of the first vertebrates on earth.

Source: Reuters

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