Discovery of Earth’s Oldest Forest near Butlin’s in Somerset: Fossilized … Trends Today

A groundbreaking scientific discovery has been made near a holiday resort in Somerset. Researchers have uncovered Earth’s oldest forest hidden within the sandstone cliffs near a Butlin’s in the area.

Scientists from the University of Cambridge and University of Cardiff made the remarkable find, unearthing the fossil remains of an ancient forest that once spanned across Devon and Somerset. The fossil forest is believed to be approximately 390 million years old, surpassing the previous record holder in New York by more than four million years.

Lead author Professor Neil Davies from the University of Cambridge expressed the significance of revisiting British rocks, emphasizing that new discoveries can still emerge from familiar ground. The study focused on the ‘Hangman Sandstone Formation,’ a rock band from the Devonian period stretching between 419 million and 358 million years ago, marking a crucial period when life expanded onto land.

The researchers scaled the challenging sea cliffs on the South Bank of the Bristol Channel and discovered the ancient remains of tree trunks and twigs, making these the oldest plant fossils ever found in Britain. Prior to this discovery, the oldest known forest in the world was located in Green County, near New York City, dating back around 385 million years.

The ancient trees found in Somerset, known as Calamophyton, bore a resemblance to modern palm trees, characterized by being thin and hollow at their center. These trees could grow between two and four meters tall, differing significantly from the forests seen today in places like Exmoor National Park.

The findings shed new light on Earth’s ancient past and showcase the importance of exploring and studying natural landscapes for scientific discoveries.