Forest fire of 66 million years ago could reveal much about last days of dinos

Last Updated: Friday, June 6, 2014 - 10:18

Washington: Researchers have said that as far back as the time of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today.

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.

Hans Larsson, Canada Research Chair in Macroevolution at McGill University, said excavating plant fossils preserved in rocks deposited during the last days of the dinosaurs, they found some preserved with abundant fossilized charcoal and others without it.

He added that from this, they were able to reconstruct what the Cretaceous forests looked like with and without fire disturbance.

Emily Bamforth , of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the study`s first author, said they were looking at the direct result of a 66-million-year old forest fire, preserved in stone.
Bamforth said moreover, they 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.


First Published: Friday, June 6, 2014 - 10:18

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