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ScienceDaily (Oct. 31, 2008) — A "living fossil" tree species is helping a University of Michigan researcher understand how tropical forests responded to past climate change and how they may react to global warming in the future.
Symphonia globulifera is a widespread tropical tree with a history that goes back some 45 million years in Africa, said Christopher Dick, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who is lead author on the paper. It is unusual among tropical trees in having a well-studied fossil record, partly because the oil industry uses its distinctive pollen fossils as a stratigraphic tool.