Ancient Forest Fire Fossil Helping in Understanding Wildfires during the Dino Era

Ancient Forest Fire Fossil Helping in Understanding Wildfires during the Dino Er

Researchers have deciphered from a 66-million-year-old forest fire fossil that forest from the dino-era had the same tendency to recover from fires as they have in modern times. The first-fossil-record evidence of forest fire ecology has been discovered by them in Canada, which is helping them gain deeper insight into the ancient climate of our planet.

A snapshot of earth's ecology just before the mass extinction of the dinosaurs has been a great help for the researchers to draw a clear picture about earth's climate, finding that our planet was warmer and wetter than what it is today. They also got to know how forest recovered from a wildfire.

"Excavating plant fossils preserved in rocks deposited during the last days of the dinosaurs, we found some preserved with abundant fossilized charcoal and others without it. From this, we were able to reconstruct what the Cretaceous forests looked like with and without fire disturbance", said Hans Larsson of McGill University, one of the researchers.

Also, the researchers got to know that the plants at the forest fire site were dominated by flora in almost the similar way as those that led to forest recovery today. Study author Emily Bamforth said that they were looking at the direct result of a 66-million-year old forest fire, preserved in stone. The researchers claimed that average annual temperature in southern Saskatchewan was 10-12 degrees higher than what it is today and the precipitation was almost six times.

Larsson said that they will not be able understand the extinction dynamics precisely until normal ecological processes that have happened in the past cannot be fully understood.

For the first time, researchers have used plant fossils to figure out the kind of atmosphere dinosaurs lived in before they reached extinction.

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