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Researchers detail finding ancient forest

ALBANY (AP) -- Fossil hunters investigating the floor of a 385 million-year-old forest in a quarry near Albany found evidence of a complex ecosystem teeming with plant life.

The journal Nature reported Wednesday that excavation of the quarry in 2010 allowed researchers to study an intact portion of the forest floor complete with root systems. William Stein, associate professor of biology at Binghamton University and an author of the article, called the discovery "the botanical equivalent of dinosaur footprints."

"The newly uncovered area was preserved in such a way that we were literally able to walk among the trees, noting what kind they were, where they had stood and how big they had grown," he said.

Researchers believe the site was a tropical swamp near a shoreline. The area southwest of Albany has been on the paleontological map since the 19th century, when workers found a group of fossilized stumps cited as evidence of the world's oldest forest.


Ice drifts from shore with 30 fishermen

SYLVAN BEACH (AP) -- Ice breaking free from a Central New York lakeshore set 30 fishermen adrift, but they were all able to get off safely after one noticed his GPS device showing his position had shifted 75 feet.

State police told the Utica Observer-Dispatch the alarm was sounded Wednesday morning on Oneida Lake near Syracuse. Rescue crews found a long stretch of ice had cracked along Sylvan Beach.

Firefighters sounded sirens to alert the fishermen, 29 of whom waded to shore through 2-foot-deep water. The other was taken off in an airboat.