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RandiFan1290

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

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/385-million-year-old-fossils-reveal-worlds-oldest-forest-had-modern-tree-roots-180973810/



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.

Earliest known cave art by modern humans found in Indonesia

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/dec/11/earliest-known-cave-art-by-modern-humans-found-in-indonesia

Cave art depicting human-animal hybrid figures hunting warty pigs and dwarf buffaloes has been dated to nearly 44,000 years old, making it the earliest known cave art by our species.

The artwork in Indonesia is nearly twice as old as any previous hunting scene and provides unprecedented insights into the earliest storytelling and the emergence of modern human cognition.

Previously, images of this level of sophistication dated to about 20,000 years ago, with the oldest cave paintings believed to be more basic creations such as handprints.
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