Mysterious Mangrove Forest Dates Back More than 125,000 Years

by Michael Freeman

New scientific discoveries are happening every day and sometimes it’s interesting how it took so long to find them. A few days ago, scientists discovered the origins of a strange mangrove forest that dates back more than 125,000 years.

Live Science reported the discovery above the mysterious forest within Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Red mangroves, or Rhizophora mangle, grow in saltwater along coastlines. Oddly enough, this forest is around the San Pedro River in the state of Tabasco, which is more than 125 miles from the nearest ocean. If that’s the case, how is this forest continuing to thrive being so far from saltwater?

Researchers recently discovered this odd ecosystem actually began growing 125,000 years ago, when sea levels were much higher and covered its current region. Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, a marine ecologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego issued a statement about the revelation. “The most amazing part of this study is that we were able to examine a mangrove ecosystem that has been trapped in time for more than 100,000 years.”

Looking at the genetic mutations within the trees, scientists learned the mangroves remained isolated from the nearest mangroves. The researchers then reasoned the mangrove forest took root while the ocean was higher. It then managed to not only stay alive but adapt and thrive to the now freshwater environment.

Felipe Zapata, a geneticist at the University of California, Los Angeles, also gave his excited thoughts. “This discovery is extraordinary. Not only are the red mangroves here with their origins printed in their DNA, but the whole coastal lagoon ecosystem of the last interglacial has found refuge here.”

Furthermore, the scientists hope their study encourages Mexico’s environmental administration to protect the ecosystem.

Florida Fisherman Snags Two Mangrove Snappers on One Hook

While not as mind-blowing as a forest remaining alive hundreds of thousands of years, another mangrove story is still impressive. In the fishing equivalent of “buy one, get one free,” a Florida angler snagged two mangrove snappers with one hook.

Robert Bush Senior caught the two snappers while fishing off the Ponce Inlet coast. Using shrimp as bait, the fisherman never thought he’d catch two for the price of one. Funnily enough, he reported once the opposite happened to him: one fish on two hooks.

“Never caught [sic] 2 on 1 hook but have caught [sic] 1 on 2 hooks, using a double hook drop rig had a black sea bass somehow get both hooks in his mouth, circle hooks and tied just over a foot apart,” Bush stated.

It seems his luck came back full circle, or perhaps it didn’t. Though the catch was amazing, the two snappers didn’t quite meet the size requirements to keep.