Where did the glossopterids go?

Not only have many groups of animals disappeared over earth’s history, but entire groups of plants no longer exist. One such example is the glossopterids.


Leaves from a species of Glossopteris

Glossopterids were woody seed plants, that were either shrub- or tree-like, something we are still unsure of due to the absence of complete fossil specimens.


Reconstruction of Glossopteris 

In the genus Glossopteris alone, more than 70 fossil species have been discovered in India, with additional species across Africa, Madagascar, South America, Australia and Antarctica. Despite this widespread distribution and impressive diversity, glossopterids appear in the fossil record at the beginning of the Permian (299 million years ago) and then disappear by this period’s end (252 million years ago). Their disappearance coincides with the apparent extinction of various other organisms, including the captorhinids and sea scorpions.

Questions for Creationists

Where did the glossopterids go? If they were so widespread and diverse, why do we no longer see them today? How were they able to live on Antarctica if it is so inhospitable to plants today? Wouldn’t the seeds have been able to survive Noah’s flood, or couldn’t Noah have brought them onto his ark?

Photo Credit

Glossopteris leaves, Glossopteris reconstruction


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