Navigation Links
What a 66-million-year-old forest fire reveals about the last days of the dinosaurs
Date:6/5/2014

This news release is available in French.

As far back as the time of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today, according to a team of researchers from McGill University and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

During an expedition in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, the team discovered the first fossil-record evidence of forest fire ecology - the regrowth of plants after a fire - revealing a snapshot of the ecology on earth just before the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. The researchers also found evidence that the region's climate was much warmer and wetter than it is today.

"Excavating plant fossils preserved in rocks deposited during the last days of the dinosaurs, we found some preserved with abundant fossilized charcoal and others without it. From this, we were able to reconstruct what the Cretaceous forests looked like with and without fire disturbance", says Hans Larsson, Canada Research Chair in Macroevolution at McGill University.

The researchers' discovery revealed that at the forest fire site, the plants are dominated by flora quite similar to the kind that begin forest recovery after a fire today. Ancient forests recovered much like current ones, with plants like alder, birch, and sassafras present in early stages, and sequoia and ginkgo present in mature forests.

"We were looking at the direct result of a 66-million-year old forest fire, preserved in stone," says Emily Bamforth, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the study's first author. "Moreover, we now have evidence that the mean annual temperature in southern Saskatchewan was 10-12 degrees Celsius warmer than today, with almost six times as much precipitation".

"The abundant plant fossils also allowed us for the first time to estimate climate conditions for the closing period of the dinosaurs in southwestern Canada, and provides one more clue to reveal what the ecology was like just before they went extinct", says Larsson, who is also an Associate Professor at the Redpath Museum.

Forest fires can affect both plant and animal biodiversity. The team's finding of ancient ecological recovery from a forest fire will help broaden scientists' understanding of biodiversity immediately before the mass extinction of dinosaurs. "We won't be able to fully understand the extinction dynamics until we understand what normal ecological processes were going on in the background". says Larsson.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cynthia Lee
cynthia.lee@mcgill.ca
514-398-6754
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. PARTNERS works to promote tropical forest regrowth
2. Vines choke a forests ability to capture carbon, Smithsonian scientists report
3. Symbiosis or capitalism? A new view of forest fungi
4. Oil and gas development homogenizing core-forest bird communities
5. Scaly gem discovered in South American cloudforests
6. Leaf chewing links insect diversity in modern and ancient forests
7. Amazon rainforest survey could improve carbon offset schemes
8. NASA satellites show drought may take toll on Congo rainforest
9. Five anthropogenic factors that will radically alter northern forests in 50 years
10. Drought and fire in the Amazon lead to sharp increases in forest tree mortality
11. Study: Deforestation could intensify climate change in Congo Basin by half
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
What a 66-million-year-old forest fire reveals about the last days of the dinosaurs
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: