An international team of scientists from South Africa, Canada, and the
United States, has been looking for new clues to one of the world’s
greatest mysteries–the end Permian extinction event–near Graaf Reinet.
The team consists of Johann Neveling (Council for Geosciences), Rose
Prevec (Albany Museum, Grahamstown), Sandra Kamo (University of
Toronto), John Geissman (University of Texas-Dallas), and Robert
Gastaldo (Colby College) and three students–Tara Chizinski, Dan
Langwenya, and Kody Spencer.
Previously, these researchers have reported on new fossil beds in the
area containing an ancient forest-floor litter demonstrating that the
Karoo once was covered in trees growing in wet conditions.
Their current field work has uncovered another fossil site containing
the same trees and ground cover plants, as well as remains of extinct
reptiles. Although today the Karoo is a hot, dry desert, this wasn’t
always the case.
Two hundred and fifty million years ago, the Karoo saw a landscape
covered in trees and consisted of a very different ecological
structure. This research team is involved in learning more about this
deep time, and how it may serve as a model for changing climates of
the present. To keep up to date look at the Blog they are keeping: