Underwater Forest 60K Yrs Old Discovered

60,000 Year Old Cyprus Forest Off Alabama Coast

Source:  Northeastern U scientist with ancient tree wood


Scientists Say: Potential for New Medicines
Off the coast of Alabama in Mobil Bay, 
scientists have discovered a 60,000 year
old forest of cypress trees.  The forest is 
now 60 feet underwater.  It
once grew along the banks of a river. The team
of scientists from Northeastern University in
Boston and the University of Utah believe
the trees may help forward the creation of
new medicines.  

Diving Back 60,000 Years
The trees were buried under water, sediment
and eventually the seabed for 60,000
years.  Powerful storms, including hurricanes
that hit Alabama, blew open the seabed
and exposed the forest.  NOAA funded the
scientists diving expedition to document 
the underwater forest and bring back
samples of the wood.

Surprising Findings
Back in the lab, the scientists found 300
different types of organisms buried in the
wood.  What captured their interest was 12 
brand new strains of bacteria found in
shipworms contained in the wood.  They
believe they may have the potential for creating
new drugs, including drugs to fight cancer
and pain.  Scientists are currently sequencing
their DNA to evaluate the potential for new 
drugs.

Coronavirus
Because of the pandemic, more dives to
the forest are on hold.  But the scientists
hope to deploy AUVs - autonomous, 
underwater vehicles - to capture images
of this long hidden forest for us all to see.

Innovations and Discoveries
For a browse of journalist Edward
Kane's  recent books on
discoveries and innovations, go to
I'm the co-author.

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