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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. 

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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. 

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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:

http://web.colby.edu/extinctsouthafrica/