This past summer’s release of the blockbuster Jurassic World once again piqued the general population’s curiosity in how dinosaurs lived. One fact that you may be interested to know if you’ve turned into a bit of a dinosaur enthusiast is that the dinosaurs that once trampled though the forests of North America were surrounded by different trees than the ones we are surrounded by today.
The dinosaurs lived among and munched mostly on flowering evergreen trees, such as ferns, cycads, gingkoes, and beeches, all of which keep their foliage year-round. According to the fossil record, these sorts of trees and shrubs thrived during the time of the dinosaurs. For the past 66 million years, however, they have made up only a small portion of forest plant life.
Researchers speculate that the same asteroid impact which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs also wiped out numerous species of such flowering evergreens. The impact is thought to have set off an inferno which engulfed forests all the way from Canada to Mexico.
Once the blaze finally settled down, the remaining trees were faced with the difficult task of adapting to the radical climate swings of the new, post-impact world. It seems that this new climate was more favourable to deciduous plants, which took advantage of the evolutionary boon before them and bounced back to dominate the forests of North America.
While a dinosaur would be baffled by today’s abundance of deciduous trees, modern humans in the Western Canadian cities of Edmonton, Calgary, and Kelowna live in close relation with these trees. In fact, many of us have them right in our yards. They provide us with shade in the warm months and beautiful colours to look at in the fall.
Despite these positives, deciduous trees do require a lot of work to upkeep. Tree care, including trimming, pruning, fertilization, and even tree removal, is something that every homeowner with trees on their property is going to have do think about every once in a while.