Ancient Antarctic forests turned out to be a mystery for scientists

Antarctica Triassic was completely different from today’s cold continent covered with a thick layer of snow and ice. 250 million years ago heat-loving prevailed here, as well as on the whole Earth vegetation. Despite the fact that at the beginning of the Triassic land remained “blinded” into a single supercontinent Pangea, Antarctica anyway located in high latitudes and on the mainland already existed dark polar nights. Dr. Patricia Ryberg (Patricia Ryberg) from the University Institute for Biodiversity Kansas was interested in the question of how the Antarctic Flora experienced impenetrable nights. However, instead of answering the scientist had to face new riddles.

A photo from open sources

Paleontologists discover in the sediments of the Triassic of Antarctica petrified leaves and tree trunks (photo by Patricia Ryberg). “To me it was necessary to understand how plants were lacking photosynthesis, inevitably arising during the period of time when the sun hides behind the horizon for a long time, ”explains Patricia Ryberg. – The best source of such information could be trees, since their rings contain an encoded biological response to adverse environmental conditions. “Study Triassic sediments in Antarctica showed that they are hiding in the rock whole layers of petrified leaves, indirectly indicating the simultaneous, seasonal nature of their discharge. In other words, Antarctic forest must be represented by deciduous species vegetation that would undergo an unfavorable period like modern temperate trees. Cell analysis revealed that most of the ancient Antarctic flora was represented by evergreens (image Patricia Ryberg). However, a more detailed cell-molecular analysis Petrified wood presented a completely different picture.

A photo from open sources

“Our conclusion is somewhat contrary to theory, because, as shown analysis, Antarctic trees were for the most part evergreen, “says Ryberg. Scientists are researching samples of fossilized wood were taken and cell structure was checked tree rings. It is known that plant cells during development and crown extensions are different from plant cells that are preparing for hibernation. In the latter case, the wood becomes noticeable denser, and cells develop a thicker wall.

A photo from open sources

The discovery shows that trees grew in Antarctica, despite polar night (photo by Blackshilo / Dispel doubts there was a carbon fossil analysis (before the winter plants stop growing and create carbon stocks). However, in In this case, it turned out that in the forests of the Antarctic evergreen and deciduous flora. “It’s not about that one plant was replaced by another, says the doctor Ryberg. “Trees of different zones coexisted in parallel.”

Antarctica Plants

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