Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Living Fossils at the Los Angeles Zoo

Zoo Scape, May-June Issue
My book Living Fossils: Clues to the Past focuses on animals of today that closely resemble their ancestors known from fossils. Did you know that there are many plants that are living fossils too?  Ferns, cycads, ginkgo trees, and the dawn redwood are just a few examples. You can see some of these fascinating  plants at the Los Angeles Zoo and you can read about them in the May-June issue of Zoo Scape, in an article called “Living Fossils”. Zoo Scape is the member newsletter of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Here's an excerpt:
Ferns are so common (there are more than 11,000 species worldwide) that it's easy to overlook their remarkable history, which stretches back about 400 million years. Ferns predated flowering plants and were the dominant botanical life form during the Carboniferous era 360 to 286 millions years ago when flying insects and reptiles first appeared. 
Take a look around YOUR neighborhood. Chances are that you have some living fossils growing near where you live!
Ferns in my front garden

The Nautilus is a living fossil

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