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Thu Dec 19, 2019, 06:21 PM

The World's Oldest Forest Has 385-Million-Year-Old Tree Roots


At three trillion strong, Earth’s trees are estimated to outnumber the stars in the Milky Way. These woody wonders sponge carbon dioxide out of the skies, brace soil against erosion, cycle water through ecosystems and support countless forms of life. And we largely have their sophisticated root systems to thank.

Sprouting from the base of tree trunks, roots are the arboreal equivalent of a digestive tract, exchanging water and nutrients with surrounding soils. Roots literally anchor a plant, and the more extensive they are, the bigger and stronger the stuff above ground can grow. In their modern forms, they helped trees dominate their habitats—and spread across the globe.

“Roots maximize [a tree’s] physiological capacity,” says Christopher Berry, a paleobotanist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. “An efficient rooting system is key to being a successful tree.”

Now, new research from Berry and his colleagues suggests the modern versions of these stupendous structures are more deeply rooted in the arboreal family tree than ever thought before. Their team has uncovered Earth’s oldest known forest outside Cairo, New York, as detailed today in the journal Current Biology. At 385 million years old, the ancient woodland predates the rise of seed-producing plants, a group that includes almost all living trees. The Paleozoic forest is also home to the remnants of intricate tree root systems that bear an uncanny resemblance to those still around today.

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Reply The World's Oldest Forest Has 385-Million-Year-Old Tree Roots (Original post)
RandiFan1290 Dec 2019 OP
marybourg Dec 2019 #1

Response to RandiFan1290 (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2019, 08:48 PM

1. They had an old speed trap outside Cairo, N.Y. also.

I don’t know if it Earth’s oldest, however.

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