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New Argentine fossils uncover history of celebrated conifer group


Francisco Tutella
June 18, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Newly unearthed, surprisingly well-preserved conifer fossils from Patagonia, Argentina,
show that an endangered and celebrated group of tropical West Pacific trees has roots in the ancient supercontinent that
once comprised Australia, Antarctica and South America, according to an international team of researchers.

“The Araucaria genus, which includes the well-known Norfolk Island pine, is unique because it’s so abundant in the fossil record and still living today,” said Gabriella Rossetto-Harris, a doctoral student in geosciences at Penn State and lead author of the study. “Though they can grow up to 180 feet tall, the Norfolk Island pine is also a popular houseplant that you might recognize in a dentist’s office or a restaurant.”   more

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