|Image credit: Pixabay / MartinFuchs|
The discovery of ancient trees fossilized in what looks like a forest is always big news. However, when they are believed to have been tropical trees and they are uncovered in what is now the Arctic, it is even bigger news.To get to the root of the questions, click on 'Ancient Tropical “Transitional” Forests Found Fossilized in the Arctic'.
According to articles in Science Daily and Geology, Chris Berry, of the School of Earth and Ocean Science at Cardiff University, and John Marshall, of National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, have identified a number of “fossil forests” on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean north of Norway.
The trees making up these claimed fossil forests are lycopsids. Such trees are not found alive today, but living relatives in the same class are the clubmosses. Twenty-six stems of these fossil lycopsids were found in three locations as vertical external molds and upright internal casts some 2–4 inches (55–95 mm) wide in dense strands spaced about 6–8 inches (~15–20 cm) apart. Whereas these upright fossil stems were found buried in a sandstone layer, their bases extended down into the underlying mudstone, which contains what have been interpreted as sub-horizontal roots.