Nautilus

Australia’s Secret Rescue of Ancient Trees Offers an Insight Into Evolution

This tree has, in a sense, outlived the dinosaurs. Encountering it can be like seeing a dinosaur-era insect encased in ancient amber brought to life.Photograph by S. Rae / Flickr

hen I read that more than a animals had lost their lives to bushfires still raging in Australia, I froze, staring at the incomprehensible figure on my screen. A sort of sinking feeling came. Scientists made the estimate from the numbers of animals that have died from previous land-clearing practices. It is dismaying to try to imagine all that those fires are, the situation in Victoria and New South Wales, the region in eastern Australia affected the worst, looks to be improving, however slightly. What’s more, an ancient and critically endangered species, rooted in New South Wales’ Wollemi National Park, survived the blaze.

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