Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week Twelve: An Ancient Devonian Forest: A 385-million-year-old Forest Finally Uncovered in Gilboa, New York, NYS Museum, Albany, New York

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m from Schoharie County.  I was really excited to learn that the world’s oldest forest was discovered in Gilboa, New York (not far from where I did my week one Minekill hike!).  The findings make up the cover story in the March 1, 2012 issue of Nature.  Through March 31st, the NYS Museum has a display in the lobby featuring some information on the ancient forest and a fossil of a 385-million-year-old tree trunk.

Ancient fossils were recovered at the site in the 1920s when the NYC reservoir system was being built.  In 2010, the Gilboa Dam underwent a series of repairs.  The ancient remains were uncovered for two weeks and scientists had the ability to once again study this magnificent discovery.  It was originally thought that the ancient forest only included one species of tree, but the latest findings show that three types of trees grew in this ancient forest.  Scientists identified 200 root mounds before the spot was once again covered with soil and rocks.

Scientists have been able to piece together what the forest probably looked like.  These illustrations are also displayed at the museum.  Located in the lobby, the display is small but fascinating.  Check it out before March 31st!
What the forest may have looked like

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