Friday, 17 Jul, 2009 Science
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France Was Once a Tropical Rainforest

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This could sound incredible but researchers found evidence that about 55 million years ago the territory of today's France has been occupied by a hot, wet tropical rainforest. The proof was found in yellowish-brown tree liquid that hardens into a deep, yellow, solid fossil.

Akino Jossang and his team examined amber discovered near Paris. The things that caught their attention was the fact that such amber is produced by a tree that grows nowadays only in the Amazon rainforest.

According to researchers the ancient ancestor of the found tree vanished long ago, but the team managed to find its contemporary plant relative. During the analysis of the amber samples scientist found a chemical named quesnoin. Although a lot of trees produce amber, the kind of amber that features such chemical can only be produced by a tree growing in the Amazon rainforest.

Dr. Jossang believes that the appearance of such tree near Paris could mean that about 55 millions years ago France had a hot, mild climate which resembled the climate of today's Amazon rainforest. Another proof is that the amber featured fossilized plants and animals just like the ones found in a tropical rainforest, reports Physorg.com. Besides 55 million years ago the Earth's continents were placed differently than today and the territory of France was closer to the African continent, being located in a region with a warmer and tropical climate. The study and its results were published Journal of Organic Chemistry.

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