Sunday, 29 April 2007

Kauri says 'no' to theory

WHILE people today face the rising tides of global warming, some Kiwi scientists are debating flooding theories from the past.
Way back – about 30 million years ago – in the Oligocene period New Zealand was allegedly completely under water.
This hypothesis, released in a paper last year, is being refuted by Associate Professor Peter Lockhart from Massey University and a mighty tree.
“The kauri says ‘no’. It’s an example of a plant group that’s got an unbroken heritage with Gondwana,” he says, referring to the land mass New Zealand was part of before it began breaking away from Australia about 80 million years ago.
Fossil records and molecular clock dating show kauri was here 100 million years ago and has survived through the ages.
Dr Lockhart does agree that a great deal of New Zealand was under water in the Oligocene period, but for the kauri to have continued its family tree, unbroken, proves without doubt, the completely submersed theory can’t be right.
And what about our wee living dinosaur: “Where was the tuatara during this time – was it hanging out in hamburger bars in Sydney?”

1 comment:

Jonathan Stephens said...

The Kauri (Agathis australis) is not the only podocarp that predates the Oligocene submergence in New Zealand fossil history so the hypothesis is unlikely.