新华社北京1月4日电?一个国际团队近日在美国《当代生物学》杂志网络版上报告说,他们在美国纽约州东南部发现了距今约亿年的古森林化石遗迹,这是迄今发现的世界上最古老森林的遗迹。

Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, January 4? An international team recently reported on the online edition of the American Journal of Contemporary Biology that they had discovered fossilised remains of the ancient forest in southeastern New York, about 100 million years ago, the oldest forest in the world to date.

  美国纽约州立大学宾厄姆顿分校和英国加的夫大学等机构研究人员组成的团队说,他们在纽约州东南部距今约亿年的古生代泥盆纪中期地层中发现了这处古森林遗迹。距离此处40公里的一处森林遗迹此前被科学家认为是“最古老的”,而新发现的遗迹还要早300万至200万年。

A team of researchers from institutions such as the State University of New York at Binghamton and the University of Cardiff in the UK said they found the ancient forest remains in the mid-pelvic strata in southeastern New York about 100 million years ago. A forest remains 40km from here were previously considered \"the oldest\" by scientists, while the newly discovered remains were three to two million years earlier.

  这处古森林在亿年前是亚热带或温带湿地。研究人员认为,当时主要有两种植物在这里扎根。一种是古羊齿属植物,其粗壮的根部呈放射状伸展,辐射范围直径约11米。古羊齿属植物被认为是松、杉等针叶树的祖先。新发现表明,长寿并且高大的树木出现得比科学家以往认为的更早。

This ancient forest was a subtropical or temperate wetland 100 million years ago. The researchers believe that at the time there were two main plants that took root. One is the genus Old Goat, whose stout roots extend radially, with a radiation range of about 11 meters in diameter. Ancestral plants are considered ancestors of conifers such as pine and fir. New discoveries show that long and tall trees emerge earlier than scientists thought.

  另一种是与椰子树形状相似的蕨类植物,1至2年生,整个根系辐射半径约1至2米,其中主根直径仅有20至50厘米。40公里外那处古森林遗迹也曾发现过这种蕨类植物。

The other is a similar-shaped fern to coconut trees,1 to 2-year-old, with an entire root radiating radius of about 1 to 2 meters, of which the main root is only 20 to 50 centimeters in diameter. The ferns were also found in the remains of the ancient forest 40 km away.

  在距今约亿年的泥盆纪末期,地球上曾发生过生物大灭绝,此后石炭纪大规模森林又开始增多,堆积在地层中的大量树木在地热和压力作用下变成煤炭。

Large-scale forests of the Carboniferous began to increase after mass extinctions on Earth at the end of the Devonian, about 100 million years ago, and the massive trees that piled up in the strata became coal under the action of geothermal and pressure.


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