This Quarry In Upstate New York Has The Oldest Forest On Earth
Nov 11, 2022 By Juliana Daniel

New York is home to only one of the oldest forests discovered anywhere in the globe. While some woods are thousands of years old, others are pretty youthful. Both the dense tropical rainforest of something like the Congo and, indeed, the vast boreal forests between Siberia but instead Canada are relatively young at roughly 10,000 years. Australia's Daintree Rainforest may be the oldest tropical forest in the world. However, the world's earliest documented ancient forest was discovered in upstate New York. The finding of this preserved woodland adds to the growing body of evidence causing scientists to rethink their theories and beliefs about the distant past. If you're interested in old biological stories and find the ancient woods of New York fascinating, you might explore looking at some of the "living fossils" that may be found all over the globe.

It Takes Root In One Of The Oldest Forests

In contrast, the other two underlying systems can only be found in the Cairo area. It's not hard to draw parallels between Archaeopteris and contemporary seed plants. Many of these features, such as an upright habit, laminate leaves, exogenous root development, and thus more modern vascular systems, have never been together in the fossil record.

The Ancient Prehistoric Forest Of New York

Recent research published throughout Current Biology shows it might be as ancient as a mind-boggling 385 million years old. This is ancient, ancient history. It was around long before the age of dinosaurs. It predates the Carboniferous and continues far into the Devonian era. Ancient New York rainforests are found in a deserted quarry in Cairo, some 40 miles south of downtown Albany. Scientists have uncovered the petrified, long-term tree roots.

There hasn't been much terrestrial life around for a long time in Earth's history. Before the first dinosaurs appeared, the world had already been, without a doubt, approximately 140 million years, while the first known insects had only been there for about 15 million. The globe was a completely different continent back then, and what is today the state of New York ought to have been located around 30 degrees southwest of the equator. It was probably dry and mild there.

Forests Of Cairo, New York, And Gilboa, New York - Forests Of Transition

Assumptions about the age of the oldest petrified, particularly in New York, have still been shattered by this discovery near Cairo, New York. Even though their chronological ages are different, they are roughly comparable. But there is a world of difference between these two kinds of wood. Trees inside the Gilboa woodland were probably more closely linked to ferns but instead horsetails than to other types of trees. Gilboa's old forests didn't have very sturdy tree trunks. The site provides essential information on a long-vanished civilization and a pivotal era in human history.

What To Expect From The Fossils Discovered In Cairo, New York

The trees seem to be a species of Archaeopteris, and their roots grow in a magnificent horizontally radial pattern 11 meters wide. When researchers from the New York State Museums came upon the forest, researchers were stunned by the massive root systems they discovered.

It would seem that the former quarry has not yet been opened to the general public. We can only hope that future travel plans include this destination. This national park is home to petrified forests thousands of years old. In a CNN report on that same forest, one may see photographs of the area near Cairo. The nearby Gilboa Fossil Forest is open to tourists. The Gilboa Museum, which focuses on the Devonian era, is also located in this area.

What The Forest Looked Like During The Devonian Era

It is believed that a massive flood was the culprit in the demise of the old woodland. It is hypothesized that the flood wiped off the trees but preserved their ancestors' root systems in the form of fossils. Prehistoric fish fossils have also been found around the most significant trees. This discovery is noteworthy because it represents a time when woods gradually covered and dominated the planet.


Located in a quarry not far from Cairo, New York, the oldest ancient forest dates back 386 million years. Their findings, published throughout the December 19, 2019, edition of Current Biology, give fresh light on the earliest stages of tree development, which played a crucial role in reshaping our world.

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