By Steven L. Stephenson
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Extra resources for A Natural History of the Central Appalachians
Conifers are well represented in the forest vegetation of the earth today, particularly at high latitudes and high elevations in the northern hemisphere. Although certain types of primitive conifers and conifer-like forms grew interspaced among the other tree-sized inhabitants of the coal swamp forests characteristic of wetter areas, other types 0 2 history of the flora and fauna 37 were found on drier, upland sites. The largest members of this assemblage of plants could attain a height of at least 150 feet, but others were shrub-like or best regarded as small trees.
Although squirrels return and dig up many of the nuts they have buried, some nuts are missed. These can germinate and eventually give rise to a new oak, American beech, walnut, or hickory tree. Forest birds can also play a role in the dispersal of trees. Blue jays and other birds are known to carry acorns a considerable distance, sometimes a mile or more. More importantly, tree species such as black cherry and serviceberry produce small, fleshy fruits that contain small seeds, which can pass through the digestive tract of birds unharmed.
6 million years of the earth’s history, is the most recent. The beginning of the Quaternary coincides with the onset of the last major interval of continental glaciation (the ice ages, as described in chapter 1). Geologists have subdivided the Quaternary into two units of time called epochs: the Pleistocene, which lasted until about twelve thousand years ago, and the succeeding epoch, the Holocene (Ogg, Ogg, and Gradstein, Concise Geological Time Scale). The date dividing the two epochs corresponds with the end of Wisconsin glaciation, when the earth entered its most recent interglacial period.
A Natural History of the Central Appalachians by Steven L. Stephenson