By Steven L. Stephenson
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Extra info for A Natural History of the Central Appalachians
The buffalo found in the Central Appalachians (referred to as the eastern wood buffalo) is thought to have represented a different subspecies than the buffalo (or bison) that was once characteristic of the native grasslands of western North America. The last eastern wood buffalo was killed in West Virginia in 1825. The eastern elk was eliminated by about 1890, and the gray wolf survived only about a decade longer. Although the animals are gone, they left a legacy of place names throughout the region.
Second, growth appears to have been exceedingly rapid in the tree-sized lycopsids, and the entire lifespan of an individual may not have been longer than ten to fifteen years, which seems astonishing when the sheer size of a mature tree is considered. Also, lycopsids reproduced by means of spores and not seeds. Because it did not have an extensive crown, Lepidodendron probably grew in dense stands, perhaps with as many as four to eight hundred trees per acre. If most of these trees released their spores at about the same time, they would have produced a “spore rain” that was probably quite spectacular.
Conifers are well represented in the forest vegetation of the earth today, particularly at high latitudes and high elevations in the northern hemisphere. Although certain types of primitive conifers and conifer-like forms grew interspaced among the other tree-sized inhabitants of the coal swamp forests characteristic of wetter areas, other types 0 2 history of the flora and fauna 37 were found on drier, upland sites. The largest members of this assemblage of plants could attain a height of at least 150 feet, but others were shrub-like or best regarded as small trees.