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Study Explains Rainforest Similarities
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Study Explains Rainforest Similarities

July 27, 2010
New NSF-funded research shows that Kapok tree seeds traveled across the ocean from South America to Africa after continents split.

For decades, biologists believed that African and South American rainforests were similar because the continents were connected 96 million years ago. Now, research by University of Michigan evolutionary ecologist Christopher Dick and colleagues shows that kapok---and perhaps other rainforest--trees colonized Africa after the continents split, when the trees' seeds traveled across the ocean. Dick found that extreme long-distance travel by wind or ocean currents explains how the trees spread from South America to Africa.