Primordial Fossils of Earth’s 1st Trees Reveal Their Bizarre Structure

Primordial Fossils of Earth’s 1st Trees Reveal Their Bizarre Structure:

Earth’s first trees had hundreds of tree-like structures within them, making them exceedingly more intricate than the insides of modern trees, a new study finds.

Researchers made the discovery after studying the fossils of 374-million-year-old trees found in northwest China. The fossils showed that these ancient trees had an interconnected mesh of woody strands, the researchers found.

“It’s just bizarre,” said study co-researcher Christopher Berry, a senior lecturer of paleobotany at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. [Nature’s Giants: Photos of the Tallest Trees on Earth]

The two specimens were found in 2012 and 2015 in Xinjiang, China, by study lead researcher Hong-He Xu, of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The specimens belong to a group of trees known as cladoxylopsids, which are known to have existed from the Middle Devonian to the Early Carboniferous periods, from about 393 million to 320 million years ago, long before dinosaurs walked the Earth.

H/t reader kevin a.

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