LUNENBURG - There might just be hope for the dinosaurs yet. If a long thought to be extinct plant re-emerges, than nothing could ever really be gone, right? Plants may be significantly smaller and therefore easier to evade notice than a dinosaur, but thanks to Carolina club moss, fans of extinct species everywhere may have reason not to lose hope.
Carolina club moss was believed to be extinct in New England and slowly disappearing from the northeast entirely, though much more common in the mid-Atlantic and southeast. During the 1970s, botanists kept tabs on specific sites in Massachusetts that were thought to be the only remaining locations, until eventually the moss stopped appearing even there.
Fast forward 43 years, to when Matthew Carpentier, a botanist and nature lover from Lunenburg, was surveying the flora and fauna of a nondescript bog in central Massachusetts. He noticed one plant that seemed to resemble a fairly common type of moss, but when he returned to his office and began to compare it more and more with his unlikely photographs, he realized he had stumbled upon the impossible. The finding was confirmed by Robert Wernerehl, the state botanist of Massachusetts.
But if you're hoping to see the rare moss for yourself, you're out of luck - for us non-botanist folk, though, the location is being kept very secret so we don't lose the Carolina club moss again.
Image via Wikimedia / Jason Hollinger