Climate Change And Ancient Forests On PBS's "Prehistoric Road Trip"

Jun 19, 2020

Three different plant fossils from the Hanna Basin in Wyoming.
Credit Ellen Currano

University of Wyoming's paleobotany professor Ellen Currano contributed to a PBS documentary airing this summer. The documentary, "Prehistoric Road Trip," explores fossils throughout the Great Plains.

Currano and her team showed the documentary crew their excavation site near Hanna, Wyoming, where they study the fossils of an ancient forest. Currano said the forest fossils are from a time period that is very important to our understanding of climate change.

"One of the really cool things during this time interval is you have a very abrupt global warming event," said Currano. "And so this event is one of the best past analogs we have for what humans are doing today."

By studying these fossils, Currano said researchers can examine how the ecosystem changed during a global warming event. This will give scientists clues about how our own environment will respond to climate change.

The three-part "Prehistoric Road Trip" documentary is airing on PBS at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays until July 1.

Have a question about this story? Please contact the reporter, Ashley Piccone, at apiccone@uwyo.edu.