Changing Interpretations

The New Devonian Forest

An artistic rendering of the Devonian forest, as it is currently understood by leading paleontologists. Courtesy of Kristen Wyckoff.

 

Goldring lived long enough to see her conclusions about the Gilboa fossils challenged and overturned, particularly her classification of the plants as "seed ferns."  Being wrong does not mean, however, that a scientist lacks skill - all paleontological interpretations are based on the knowledge and theories available at the time.  

Golding would have been very surprised, however, to see just how divergent recent interpretations have become.  Fossils found over the past five years, including those exposed by floods in the fall of 2011, have not only dramatically revealed the crown of the trees to be firm and palm-like; they have exposed a larger diversity of plant and insect life than was previously envisioned.  

These discoveries would certainly please the former paleontologist, but she would probably still wonder: Are these exciting discoveries inspiring women to take up the discipline, and is there a place for them if they do? 

The Devonian Forest
Changing Interpretations