Thursday, 17 August 2006

Rainforests in the alps

In winter, Mt Hotham in the Victoria High Country, is cloaked in snow. In summer, wildflowers cover the slopes. But 35–49 million years ago, the area experienced no snow fall. In fact, it was so warm that rainforests grew over the mountains.

Fossils excavated from around Mt Hotham include species similar to those found today in the rainforests of North Queensland and New Guinea. Among them are Cryptocarya, Gymnostoma, several tropical Proteaceae and the conifer Agathis.

Read more
Carpenter, R.J., Hill, R.S., Greenwood, D.R., Partridge, A.D. and Banks, M.A. (2004). No snow in the mountains: Early Eocene plant fossils from Hotham Heights, Victoria, Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 52(6): 685–718

Hill, R.S. (2004). Origins of the southeastern Australian vegetation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London series B 359: 1537–1549.

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