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Re: Pine trees and paleoartists



At 08:25 2007-07-06, Brandon Pilcher wrote:
Why is it that paleoartists almost always decorate their Mesozoic landscapes with pine trees? I have always found this cliche irritating and aesthetically unattractive. If I recall correctly, the Mesozoic Era had a warm, almost tropical climate (although the polar regions appear to have experienced more temperate conditions), and yet from looking at paleoartists' depictions, you would think it was like Alaska or Sweden with all those pine forests. Are there tropical species of pine trees that I don't know about, because in my opinion, pine trees look seriously out of place in a landscape that's supposed to be hot and muggy.

Certainly there are tropical pines. There is a lot of pine woodland in the Everglades, which should be hot and muggy enough to satisfy anybody. The same applies to Cuba, Bahamas, Hispaniola and Central America.


Incidentally conifers (especially podocarps) even occur in tropical lowland rainforests, though they are mostly a fairly minor element nowadays.

However I agree rhat pines aren't ideal models for mesozoic conifers. Pines are "modern" with their relatively free-form growth habit. Early conifers had more determinate growth form like e. g. firs or araucarias. Have a look at this for example:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/y5901e/Y5901E01.jpg

That is tropical Araucaria forest on New Caledonia which probably has the most "mesozoic-looking" flora in the World.

Tommy Tyrberg