Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Polar dinosaur food

Posted: April 11, 2012 at 08:27 am Author: Westonbirt's learning and participation team

This Easter, Westonbirt’s learning and participation team have created two great family events, with an Easter Challenge (3 – 6 April) and an exploration of Jurassic Plants (10 – 12 April) on offer for families. Trails amongst the trees and craft activities make this the perfect spring day out – here’s a taste of some of the amazing tree facts you’ll find on the trails!

Back in Jurassic times, in what is now south-east Australia, the land was 2,000 miles closer to the south pole. It was likely that 3-6 months of the year was spent in darkness with temperatures ranging from -6ºC to 3ºC.

Wollemi Pine

Even in this chilly environment polar dinosaurs such as Muttaburrasaurus survived in this high and hilly countryside, feasting on wollemi pine as they wandered.

The leaf buds of the wollemi are protected through the winter by a waxy polar cap. It is thought that this helped the wollemi to survive the cold conditions and several ice ages!

The oldest wollemi pine fossil dates back 200 million years ago. This tree was thought to be extinct until it was discovered growing in a temperate rainforest canyon in Australia in 1994.

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