They discover an “extraordinary” mangrove forest of more than 120,000 years in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula (PHOTOS and VIDEOS)

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In what has been regarded as a “extraordinary find”, a Mexican-American research team discovered an ancient mangrove forest of more 120,000 years in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, about 200 kilometers from the nearest coast, according to a release from the University of San Diego.

As the researchers point out in their most recent research, published recently online at PNAS, this amazing “lost World” It is located on the banks of the San Pedro Mártir River, which runs from the El Petén jungle, in Guatemala, to the Balancán region, in the Mexican state of Tabasco.

While other studies have found fossilized mangrove forests far from the coast, this is the first time that this type of ecosystem has been found in all its splendor and so far from the sea, a fact that surprised academics, since the specimens of red mangrove (‘Rhizophora mangle’ ), as well as other identified species, are characterized by finding your ecological niche in brackish or estuarine waters.

After analyzing the results of the genetic tests, the geological data of the area and the vegetation samples collected, the researchers integrated the information obtained into a computerized model that recreates the sea level, discovering that the San Pedro mangroves reached their peak. current location during the last interglacial period, about 125,000 years, and were isolated as the oceans receded during the last ice age.

“The most surprising thing about this study is that we have been able to examine a mangrove ecosystem that has been trapped in time for more than 100,000 years. […] there is certainly more to discover about how the numerous species in this ecosystem have adapted through the different environmental conditions of the last “hundreds of thousands of years,” said Octavio Aburto Oropeza, co-author of the research.

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“As a child I used to fish here and play in these mangroves, but we never knew precisely how they got there, that was the driving question that brought the team together,” said Carlos Burelo, a native of the region and co-author of the publication, as well as a series of botanical studies that provided a solid base on the vegetation present on the shores of the San Pedro Mártir river.

In addition to providing an idea of ​​the advance and retreat of the oceans during the last interglacial period and the last ice age, the research, the authors note, sheds new light on the adaptive processes of species to changing climatic conditions, as well as to predict possible scenarios regarding “relative rise in sea level as climate change progresses in a human-dominated world”.

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