New York Current Affairs - 2020

Scientists find World’s oldest Fossil forest

Scientists have discovered the remnants of world’s oldest fossil forest- an extensive network of trees around 386 million years old in a sandstone quarry in United States (US). According to the researchers from Binghamton University, and New York State Museum in U.S., the fossil forest in Cairo would have spread from New York all the way into Pennsylvania and beyond. The finding were published in journal Current Biology.

About World’s oldest Fossil forest

The researchers team, mapped over 3,000 square metres of forest at abandoned quarry in the foothills of Catskill Mountains in Hudson Valley, New York.  The forest is nearly 2 or 3 million years older than what was until now believed to be world’s oldest forest at Gilboa (or Gilboa Fossil Forest, also located in New York State). As per the researchers, the Cairo forest is older than the one at Gilboa because fossils were lower down in sequence of rocks that occur in the Catskill mountains.

Key Findings:

The findings throw a new light on evolution of trees and transformative role they played in shaping the world we live in.

The forest is being assumed to have been looked like a fairly open forest with small to moderate sized coniferous-looking trees with individual and clumped tree-fern like plants of possibly smaller size growing between them.

The research shows that the forest was home to at least two types of trees:- (1) Cladoxylopsids, a primitive tree-fern-like plants, lacked flat green leaves, and grew in vast numbers at Gilboa; while (2) Archaeopteris, had a conifer-like woody trunk and frond-like branches which had green flattened leaves.

A single example of a third type of tree was also uncovered, which remained unidentified but could possibly have been a lycopod. All these trees reproduced using only spores rather than seeds.

Researchers also reported an extensive network of roots which was more than 11 metres in length in some places and belonged to Archaeopteris trees.  It is these long-lived woody roots that transformed interactions of plants and soils and were pivotal to co-evolution of forests and atmosphere.

Nita Ambani elected to board of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

Educationist, Philanthropist and Businesswoman Nita Ambani has been named the Honorary Trustee of New York City’s The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest U.S. art museum. In the museum’s 150-year of history, she is the first Indian Trustee. Her election took place at the meeting of the Museum’s board and the announcement in this regard was made by Daniel Brodsky, the Chairman of Museum.

Key Highlights

The 149-year-old Metropolitan Museum of Art, is considered as the largest and most visited art museums in the world. The museum draws billionaires, celebrities and millions of visitors a year to see art spanning 5,000 years from around the world.

Nita Ambani: She is the Founder and Chairperson of the Reliance Foundation. She is the wife of Asia’s richest person and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani. She is first Indian to be so honoured.

Why is She elected? For her commitment to The Met and to preserving and promoting India’s art, culture and heritage. The Met also noted that the Reliance Foundation has sponsored key cultural events such as ‘Abbaji’, the annual concert of legendary musician Ustad Zakir Hussain, among the many efforts to recognize cultural legends of India and ensure their relevance to a younger generation.

In October 2017, the museum had also announced that Reliance Foundation promised a generous gift (without stating the amount of gift) to support exhibitions that explore and celebrate the arts of India.