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  • 3/12/2012

Scandinavian trees survived last Ice Age: Study


Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have found that some of the Scandinavian trees survived the harsh climate of the last Ice Age.

It was previously believed that the Scandinavian trees were killed off by the huge ice sheet and thus the modern trees in the region were descended from species that migrated north when the ice melted 9,000 years ago.

The new study however, suggests that some conifers survived on mountain peaks that protruded from the enormous ice sheet.

"Our results demonstrate that not all the Scandinavian conifer trees have the same recent ancestors, as we once believed," said Professor Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen.

Researchers studied the DNA of modern spruce and analyzed the composition of pine and spruce DNA in sediments from lake-core samples.

"There were groups of spruce and pine that survived the harsh climate in small ice-free pockets, or in refuges, as we call them, for tens of thousands of years, and then were able to spread once the ice retreated,”‌ Willerslev added.

"Other spruce and pine trees have their origins in the southern and eastern ice-free areas of Europe. Therefore, one can now refer to 'original' and later naturally 'introduced' Scandinavian conifer species."

The findings showed that the trees survived either on the top of the exposed peaks of mountains protruding from glacial cover or in more sheltered areas close to the coast with more temperate conditions.

Source: presstv.com      


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