Credit: Carvalho et al., Science; 2021Modern-day rain forests are integral to life on Earth. Yet Western European and North American paleontologists have paid little attention to tropical forests, focusing instead on temperate latitudes. But researchers have had no idea how the event changed the tropical rain forests of Africa or, until now, those of South America. Along with most of his co-authors, Jaramillo is from Colombia and specifically wanted to investigate the origins of his home country’s tropical forests. Along with many of the animals they supported, a total of 45 percent of the continent’s tropical plant species disappeared, according to the authors’ calculations.