Decline and fall of the primeval forest

Submitted by Sarah Fowell
Phone: (907) 474-7810

04/28/05

A public lecture entitled "Decline and Fall of the Primeval Forest: Rain Forest Replacement During the Permo-Carboniferous Transition" will be presented Thursday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m. in Schaible Auditorium. Lecturer William A. DiMichele is curator of the department of paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and Paleontological Society.

During the Carboniferous period (355-290 million years ago), Earth's climate and the arrangement of continents combined to create ideal conditions for ancient rain forests. Flowering plants did not yet exist. Instead, these primeval forests were home to towering club mosses, huge horsetails and giant insects, including predatory dragonflies with two-foot wingspans. The remains of fallen logs and leaves that accumulated in the forested swamps form a large portion of Earth's coal reserves. What happened to these spectacular forests of extinct giants? DiMichele will describe the transition from widespread wetlands to higher, drier forests of relatively familiar seed plants.

This presentation is sponsored by The UAF Graduate School and The Darwin Society.