On the Road to Triassic Park

25 April 2007 by Karen

Last August I told you about a project that staff from the Earth Sciences section at World Museum Liverpool were undertaking. They were trying to find out what sort of plants were growing in the Merseyside area about 240 million years ago. Wendy Simkiss from the team provides an update:

2 photos- top one showing a green plant and the other grey rock with black flecks

Modern and Triassic horsetail.

“A 240 million year trip back in time to a Triassic site on Wirral revealed plant fossils in some of the rock strata.  These were collected during last summer, transported to the museum, examined, drawn, and numbered.  What we found was that most of the remains were from horsetails and conifers.  They are being identified and photographed in more detail at the present time.

One of the mysteries facing us is why all the fragments are so small.  We are attempting to find this out using examples of modern plants related to the fossil ones and seeing what happens as they dry up and disintegrate.  The photograph shows one of these tiny plant fossils from the Wirral site.”

The top image shows modern horsetail growing wild. The lower image shows fossilised horsetail. This piece of rock is just 5mm tall. Images by Alan Bowden.

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