An international research team has found evidence of the Earth's earliest forest trees, dating back 385 million years. Upright stumps of fossilized trees were uncovered after a flash flood in Gilboa, upstate New York, more than a century ago. However, until 2007, the crowns of the trees and overall morphology were unknown. These have helped to determine that Eospermatopteris belongs to the Cladoxylopsida class, which were big vascular plants with spectacular morphology for their time. One reason scientists are so fascinated by these trees is that they were part of "afforestation," the original greening of the earth. That process had a major impact on the planet's climate, carbon cycling and, ultimately, what kinds of animals evolved in these ecosystems.
Dr Berry, of Cardiff's School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, said: "This was also a significant moment in the history of the planet.