An ancient forest
Scientists recently discovered evidence of a dinosaur-era forest fire locked in stone in southern Saskatchewan. Plant fossils found in the region revealed that forests rebounded from fires much like they do today; plants like alder, birch and sassafras show up first, while gingko and sequoia take much longer to come back.
Stuck in stone
"We were looking at the direct result of a 66-million-year old forest fire, preserved in stone," study author Emily Bamforth, shown here, a paleontologist at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, said in a statement.
The plant fossils date back to the Late Cretaceous era, just before the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs.
Dry, treeless badlands cover much of southern Saskatchewan these days, but 66 million years ago, the region filled with wet forests.
A view of the badlands in Grasslands National Park in 2009.
A fossil of a leaf from the Salix genus, which includes willows, found during the study of 66-million-year-old plants in Saskatchewan.