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Crooked Aspen

Crooked Aspen on Fort Garry campus // UM Today file photo

NY Times: In Poland’s Crooked Forest, a Mystery With No Straight Answer

March 31, 2017 — 

As the New York Times reports

In Poland’s Krzywy Las, or Crooked Forest, the pine trees look like potbellied stick figures. On some 400 trees, the trunks buckle out 90 degrees, creating bark-covered bellies that drag just above the earth, oddly, all pointing in the same direction — north….

“As to an explanation, that is not so easy,” said William Remphrey, a retired plant scientist from the University of Manitoba, who discovered a genetic mutation causing a group of aspen trees in Canada to curve and droop consistently over development, resulting in gnarled, twirly, Cheeto-esque trees….

“Because there are so many crooked trees in this stand, I would proceed with caution concluding it being human-caused, even though that is a definite possibility” wrote Dr. Remphrey in an email. “What I found with the crooked aspen is that even after I was able to explain the crookedness with a scientific basis, many people did not want to believe it and held onto to their far-out theories.”

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