Researchers reported on August 8 within the journal Current Biology describe the most significant example of a Devonian forest – made up of 250,000 square meters of fossilized lycopsid trees, which was recently identified near Xinhang in China’s Anhui province. The fossil forest, which is more significant than Grand Central Station, is the earliest example of a forest in Asia. The Devonian period (of 419 million to 359 million years) in the past, is best recognized for Tiktaalik, the lobe-finned fish that’s generally described pulling itself onto land – the “age of the fishes,” as the era is called, additionally noticed evolutionary progress in plants.
Lycopsids discovered in the Xinhang forest mirrored palm trees, with branchless trunks and leafy crowns and grew in a coastal environment inclined to flood. These lycopsid trees had been usually less than 3.2 meters tall. However, the tallest was estimated at 7.7 meters, taller than the average giraffe. Large lycopsids would later outline the Carboniferous interval, which adopted the Devonian and becomes a lot of the coal that’s mined today. The Xinhang forest presents the early root systems that made their height possible. Two different Devonian fossil forests have been found: in the United States, and Norway.
The large density, as well as the small size of the bushes, may make Xinhang forest similar to a sugarcane subject, though the vegetation in Xinhang forest is distributed in patches, says Deming Wang, a professor within the School of Earth and Space Sciences at Peking University, co-first author on the paper along with Min Qin of Linyi University.
The fossilized bushes are seen within the partitions of the Jianchuan and Yongchuan clay quarries, below and above a four-meter thick sandstone bed. Some fossils included pinecone-like structures with megaspores, and the diameters of fossilized trunks had been used to estimate the trees’ heights. The authors remarked that it was difficult to mark and rely on all the trees without missing anything.