To kick off our new tree facts category, we thought that it would be cool to propose a theory about how our trees and forests eventually came about. Are you ready? It involves dinosaurs! Enjoy!
The comet Chicxulub bolide that impacted the Earth around 66 million years ago not only destroyed all non flying dinosaurs, but also the North American plant life. Researchers are now examining the leaf fossils have found that the deciduous plants survived rather than the evergreens. This was probably due to the fact that they were able to react to the situation much quicker. Basically the fast growing plants were more likely to survive than the slow growers.
Benjamin Blonder points out that you are more likely to see trees in a forest that lose their leaves than an evergreens which does not. They seem to dominate the forest area. To find this out, Blonder and his colleagues studied around 1,000 angiosperm fossil leaves from Hell Creek Formation of North Dakota. He wanted to find out whether a plant went extinct on purpose or just randomly. The species he chose were from a 2.2 million year span in the Cretaceous-Paleogene area. Continue reading