New York, January 13: The oldest forest on Earth has been found by researchers in an abandoned quarry close to Cairo, New York. These fossils, which are embedded in rocks that are 385 million years old, are the petrified roots of many old trees. This finding marks a turning point in the history of Earth. The development of these roots by trees was essential in removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, storing it, and causing a major shift in the planet's climate that eventually shaped the environment we live in today.

The BBC reported that although the team of researchers was aware of the existence of the old forest, this was the first time it had been thoroughly examined to determine the ages of the plants and trees that grew there. Ancient City Found in Amazon Rainforest: Researchers Discover 3,000-Year-Old Hidden City With Extensive Road and Canal Network in Ecuador.

There were signs of early plants in the old forest, some of which are thought to have existed during the period of the dinosaurs. According to researchers at the Universities of Binghamton, New York, and Cardiff, Wales, the forest formerly stretched across an area of around 400 km, or about 250 miles. The mapping of the area began in 2019—that is, five years ago.

By analysing fossils from various plants and trees in the region, scientists revealed it to be the oldest forest on Earth. The Yakushima Forest in Japan and the Amazon rainforest are two famous examples of the oldest forests. The field of palaeobotany is involved in their discovery. Since botany is the study of plants, paleo refers to the study of old or ancient plants. Kerala: 114-Year-Old Teak Tree Planted by British at Nilambur Fetches Record Price Close to Rs 40 Lakh at Auctioned.

The old trees found in this forest did not spread by dispersing seeds that grow into new trees, in contrast to most modern plants. This forest had some fossilised trees whose reproduction depended on spores. Those who have studied mushrooms may be familiar with the term "spores" because they also spread and multiply by releasing spores into the atmosphere.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 13, 2024 06:08 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website