19th Apr 2013
Ginkgo Trees Stand Test of Time
“Living fossil” is an informal term used by biologists to describe species that lack living relatives.  While you might not personally think being called a fossil is a compliment, these organisms are actually quite impressive survivors.  The Ginkgo biloba tree, for example, is strange and unique amongst contemporary plants but incredibly similar to fossils dating back to the Permian, almost 270 million years! This means that even though every single other lineage of the Ginkgo’s relatives changed and adapted beyond recognition or died out, there are still Ginkgo trees growing today that would be indistinguishable from trees from hundreds of millions of years ago. If that fails to impress you, consider this: in Hiroshima, Japan there are still a handful of Ginkgo trees that survived the dropping of the atom bomb in 1945 living to the present day! If these hardy trees can withstand a disturbance of an A-bomb’s magnitude, it is no wonder they have managed to remain viable when so many other ancient plants could not.
Guest post written by Reggie Henke

Ginkgo Trees Stand Test of Time

“Living fossil” is an informal term used by biologists to describe species that lack living relatives.  While you might not personally think being called a fossil is a compliment, these organisms are actually quite impressive survivors.  The Ginkgo biloba tree, for example, is strange and unique amongst contemporary plants but incredibly similar to fossils dating back to the Permian, almost 270 million years! This means that even though every single other lineage of the Ginkgo’s relatives changed and adapted beyond recognition or died out, there are still Ginkgo trees growing today that would be indistinguishable from trees from hundreds of millions of years ago. If that fails to impress you, consider this: in Hiroshima, Japan there are still a handful of Ginkgo trees that survived the dropping of the atom bomb in 1945 living to the present day! If these hardy trees can withstand a disturbance of an A-bomb’s magnitude, it is no wonder they have managed to remain viable when so many other ancient plants could not.

Guest post written by Reggie Henke

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