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419-million-year old fossilized forest discovered in China

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The fossilized remains of a 419-million-year-old forest found in China, and will give researchers new insights at a time when the life began to rise up out of the sea.

The site, which is approximately the size of 35 football pitches (250,000 square feet, or 2.6 million square metres), was discovered in the area, from Xinhang in the chinese province of Anhui. In the Devonian period, forests were filled with a lycopsid, with a branchless tree similar to a palm. The area is one of the three forests, as it is well-known to be with the others, it is in the usa and Germany.

“The high density and the small size of the trees and was able to make it Xinhang forest is very similar to a sugar-cane field, even though the plants are in Xinhang forest are split into pieces,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Deming Wang, in a statement.

Monospecific lycopsid forests in coastal habitats. The site and the size of 35 football fields, filled with a lycopsid, with a branchless tree similar to a palm which grew in a period of time to which the fish were just starting to crawl out of the sea. (Credit: SWNS)

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Wang added: “It is also possible that the Xinhang lycopsid forest was much like the mangrove forests along the coast, as they occur in a similar environment, and play similar ecological roles.”

The lycopsid trees, which are typically less than 3.2 metres [10.5 feet] high, and would have increased to 7.7 m [25.3 feet] at their peak — is greater than that of a giraffe.

After the Devonian period ended 359 million years ago, and it is well-known as the “age of the fish, the giant lycopsids surfaced during the Carboniferous period. This giant lycopsids, a portion of the coal that is being mined today, the statement added.

Re-enactments of lycopsid trees (Guangdedendron micrum). Left: a young plant. Right: a mature plant. CREDIT, Zhenzhen Deng,

The petrified trees can be seen on the walls of the Jianchuan and Yongchuan clay, stone quarries, above and below a limestone bed, which is four meters [13.1 feet] thick. Other fossil finds include a pinecone-like structure, with the megaspores, and a number of petrified tree trunks, is used for the estimation of the height of the trees, Wang pointed out.

The study has been published in the scientific journal Current Biology.

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