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The majority of what is currently the eastern United States was a vast primordial swamp during the Pennsylvanian Period. This primeval rain forest/wetland was home to amphibians, cockroaches, huge dragonflies and other crawling creatures. Reptiles had not yet begun to emerge. Untold generations of plants, many were of very large size, lived and died. Their remains were buried in the water and muck in which they grew. They mixed with the remains of earlier plants which had died and were covered by sediments. Those plants which were covered by sediments quickly enough were preserved from immediate decay. Over millions of years these layers of biomass were covered by more layers of sediment and may have been subject to mountain building. These layers of biomass eventually turned into coal which we mine today. Many of these layers turned into shale (such as the Pottsville Formation) in which horsetails, ferns, seed ferns, and rushes from the Pennsylvanian Period have been preserved in wonderful detail. Alethoptertis (the seed ferns) that were common in this stratum are thought to be the forerunner of today's flowering plants. These ferns were very much like our modern varieties. The difference is that they were tree-like in size with some of them reaching 40 feet in height with trunks two feet in diameter.

The white coating found on these fossil leaf plates is pyrophyllite. It is a soft, talc-like mineral, that has replaced some of the vegetable matter.

There are four common types of ferns from this location. Alethopteris fern leaf tips are generally pointed. Pecopteris fern leaf tips are more rounded. Annularia, is a member of the rush family, and has a leaf with lobes that look like a clover leaf. Neuropteris is usually found as a singular leaf.

In the first image the fronds appear to be Alethopteris. In the second image, below, the left most and third fronds appear to be Alethopteris. The second frond, with the little rounded leaves, is Pecopteris or some other unidentified fern. The single leaf to the right is from Neuropteris.


Alethopteris/Pecopteris/Neuropteris - fossil fern
 
<i>Alethopteris/Pecopteris/Neuropteris</i> - fossil fern Quantity in Basket: None
Code: PFF-104
Price: $40.00
Shipping Weight: 1.03 pounds
 
 
Quantity:
 
Species: Alethopteris, Pecopteris, and Neuropteris
Time: Pennsylvanian Period, approximately 300-280 million years ago.
Location: Pottsville Formation, St. Clair, Pennsylvania
Dimensions: 7-1/2" x 4-5/8" x 5/8"



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