We have been in the news lately for a 130-year-old fossil discovery. I will be putting together a small display at the museum to complement what is already there, but now must be refined! Let me explain: For 130 years—since the first fossilized tree stump was found in Gilboa, paleobiologists have theorized that the “Gilboa Fossil” was a fern tree.
The stumps found in Gilboa were all found upright in their original form with many roots still attached, but with no crowns attached. The tree that has been recently discovered in Conesville—about 10 miles from where most of the original Gilboa fossils were found—is a complete tree, toppled over and horizontally fossilized with the crown attached. A similar crown had been named a different tree, but it’s now evident that the two parts form a single tree called a Wattieza. The tree crown is more like a palm than a fern. It reproduces by spores and is completely extinct.
I will add the small fossils of crown that I have to the exhibit at the Gilboa Museum with pictures and drawings from the new findings in Conesville.
Oldest trees had fronds, not leaves