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Groundforce Goes Triassic

23 August 2006 by Karen

A close up image of rock showing small green/black flecks

Fossil horsetail fragments found in the siltstones. These are the most abundant plant fossils.

If you think that garden restoration projects are daunting, spare a thought for the geologists who are attempting to reinterpret a lost world. Imagine trying to recreate your garden from the contents of your compost bin after it hasn’t been emptied for years. That’s the nature of the task geologists face when trying to picture a long vanished world.

Staff from the Earth Sciences section at World Museum Liverpool are currently involved in long term field work investigating the Triassic flora of Merseyside. The aim is to find out what type of plants grew locally 242 million years ago so that we can get a better picture of that past environment.

A layered rock face with ruck sacks in the foregroundExposure of Triassic siltstones containing plant remains

The region is famous for the fossilised footprints of the dinosaurs’ ancestors (you can see some at the museum). However, we can also learn about the environment from the fragmentary remains of plants – we currently known very little about their distribution or diversity.  We aim to learn as much as we can about the Triassic plant communities and the role they played in supporting the population of plant eating reptiles (Rhynchosaurs) and meat eaters (Chirotherium).

Over the coming months staff from the team will be reporting back on what they find and we’ll post the results here. In the meantime if you want to find out more contact either Alan Bowden or Wendy Simkiss.

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