By Steven L. Stephenson
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Additional info for A Natural History of the Central Appalachians
Although Cordaites itself would never be confused with any modern conifer, it had close relatives on the drier, upland sites during the latter part of the Carboniferous with leaves that were needlelike, like the more familiar conifers of today. In chapter 3 the overall pattern of present-day forest vegetation in the Central Appalachians will be described. indd 37 coal swamp forests, the landscape of the region during the late Carboniferous would have consisted of a mosaic of forest types. Although the region was generally flat, with meandering rivers and shallow lakes, there would also have been a scattering of small elevated areas (hummocks) and even hills.
23). The presettlement forests of the Ridge and Valley section of the Central Appalachians were probably largely dominated by oak and chestnut, since similar areas of western Maryland were described by Shreve et al. ” Early survey notes recorded by George Washington between 1748 and 1752 in the general area of what is now Hardy County in West Virginia suggest an abundance of white oak, with northern red oak, chestnut oak, chestnut, hickory, and pine the most numerous of the other trees present.
These seem to have 1/8/13 3:48 PM been soft-bodied forms (which did not leave fossils), with mollusks one of the likelier possibilities. The oldest actual fossils are those of arthropods from about 430 million years ago, during the Silurian. Some of the early forms resemble present-day centipedes and millipedes. During the Devonian two major assemblages of terrestrial animals first appeared. These were the tetrapods— land animals with four limbs, of which the amphibians (fig. 15) were the first group to appear—and the first primitive insects.