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RE: Just Add Dinosaur



Many contemporary environments fail to provide satisfying analogies to
Mesozoic ecosystems, as the trees and grounds are usually carefully groomed
and flowering plants -- particularly grasses -- dominate the ground cover.  

The Redwood Memorial Grove in the Whakarewarewa forest, near Rotorua on the
North Island of New Zealand, gets my vote as a reasonable approximation of a
terrestrial Mesozoic environment.  The forest floor and understory are
dominated by a variety of indigenous ferns, including tree ferns, and the
canopy and emergent layer are composed of (imported) California Coast
Redwoods which were planted a century ago.  See
http://www.redwoods.co.nz/nature.php for more information.     

Dino Guy Ralph
Docent at the California Academy of Sciences
Dinosaur and Fossil Education
Member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology