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China has found a lost world

09 Dec

worldPark Jurassic-you can not wait until build a time machine to go rather to the south-west China, where nature itself has created a reserve of relict forest. This was announced by Spanish biologist Jordi Lopez. Thanks to suitable conditions, which have developed in the valleys of the Sino-Tibetan mountains, many prehistoric plants survived the Ice Age is the Quaternary period. Together with a group of scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Spanish biologist went to the very heart of this remote region on the eastern Tibetan Plateau, with the canyon with the poetic name of Tiger Leaping Gorge. The expedition was looking for representatives of prehistoric flora, which could remain there for millions of years.

China won fame the world’s third country on the number of different plant species. Many of them, according to researchers, have been here since time immemorial, and even glaciation devastated Europe and North America, could not destroy them. We found a great number of relict plants in Sino-Tibetan mountains. They are a special type – boreotropicheskoy flora. They have appeared on Earth in the Cretaceous, and some even in the Jurassic period, for example, the well-known ginkgo biloba. This is real living fossils” – explained Jordi Lopez. About 15 million years ago, forest, formed by all the variety of plants, occupies the entire northern hemisphere. But at the end of the Tertiary period the climate began to change dramatically, and in the Quaternary glaciers are rapidly approaching with the north. The rich prehistoric forests became extinct, but some of them escaped to the shelter created by the mountains of southern China. According to the survey, there were favorable temperature conditions in a temperate climate and long continued tectonic stability, which excluded a sharp change in topography. Under the protection of steep mountains prehistoric flora has not only survived, but also gave birth to new species. Researchers were particularly interested in what regions inhabited paleoendemiki, ie representatives of the ancient genealogical branches, and where you can find neoendemics – species formed during the last million years in an isolated habitat. To separate the longevity of the younger generation had to learn the age of geological rocks in the area. It was found that new types of prehistoric plant obzhili Henduanshan mountains, while the more ancient of flora inhabited hills in the south-east and central China. The fact that the east Tibetan Plateau is much older than the mountains Henduanshan that formed just 3 million years ago. By the time the Cretaceous forest has already disappeared.

 

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