Evergreen dinosaurs went extinct 2 million years ago Park Ranger discovered, grove of 90 trees is ‘discovery of the century’

Evergreen dinosaurs went extinct 2 million years ago Park Ranger discovered, grove of 90 trees is ‘discovery of the century’

Lime pine trees rise after wildfires – Provided by John Spencer/National Parks and Wildlife Service

From Australia comes a story too good to be true. Like a botanical version of Jurassic Park or King Kong, a cluster of pines of species that evolved in the Cretaceous period are found high in the mountains.

These living fossils, to use the classic phrase, survived the comet’s impact and the subsequent global firestorm that killed off the dinosaurs, as well as two intervening ice ages to reach our own, and Australian botanists treat the specimens as a top-secret national treasure.

The Wollemi pine evolved 91 million years ago and became extinct according to the fossil record 2 million years ago, but in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, a group of 90 specimens was found high on remote peaks in 1994.

Over the past three decades, and in complete secrecy, a team of specialists from Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have planted small stands of willyme pine trees in other locations to help ensure they have every opportunity to be seen elsewhere. 91 million years.

It’s worth saying that the Wollemi tree is very unlike any pine you’ve seen in the woods next to your house. Sporting apple-green foliage, Granny Smith grows in a pattern similar to a fern, and has a covering of bark reminiscent of coconut palms.

“Wollemi pine seedlings and saplings grow less than a centimeter per year. They won’t mature until they can reach the rainforest canopy and access sunlight above,” research scientist Perrin McKenzie told National News, adding that they grow very slowly.

More stories like this: These 385 million-year-old tree roots look just like our own, and tell a story just like ours

The level of security is amazing for a tree. From the original group of 90 trees, hundreds are now growing across three relocation sites. Visits to the sites are very rare, and are avoided on all but the most essential occasions. Workers must cleanse themselves of any seeds and sterilize their bodies to ensure they do not bring diseases or invasive species that could threaten the trees.

ABC New Australia heard from a scientist who rhetorically asked what Wollemi pine smelled like so he could respond with “methyl alcohol” of sterilizing agents.

Before you decide to go out looking for them, unauthorized entry to the sites is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $330,000 fine under the Australian Biodiversity Conservation Act. It is possible that this visitor had already visited the original grove, either by chance or on purpose, because a parasitic disease of the tree had been discovered among the indigenous people.

“One of the biggest dangers we face is people actually coming to visit. We know people want to but they can’t really afford it,” NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharp said.

Other rare plants: He found the largest old-growth cedar tree in British Columbia – his tree of life (see)

Wollemi pine seedlings have been shipped around the world to botanical gardens, and can already be purchased from nurseries as part of efforts to save the species and discourage people from trying to access the orchard and transfer sites.

“This species was discovered at the right time and is on the brink of extinction. We have a really rare and important opportunity here to intervene and help it persist,” research scientist Perrin McKenzie told ABC News Australia.

The first generation of scientists working on the project are now either retired or nearing retirement, and feel that passing on their knowledge and training to their students has been a real privilege.

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