Solnhofen Zamites Cycadeoid Fossil

Zamites feneonis

Division Spermatophyta, Class: Spermatopsida, Order Bennettitales, Family Cycadeoidaceae

Geological Time: Late Jurassic Kimmeridgian Stage

Size: Fossil is 190 mm

Fossil Site: Solnhofen Limestone Lagerstätte, Brunn, Germany

ZamitesDescription: Presented is an unusual and rare cycad plant frond from the lithographic Solnhofen limestone deposits. According to my Solnhofen source, only about 1-3% of these fossil cycadeoid fronds have the tip preserved. Evidently, due to seasonal adaptations the tip generally detached from the frond.

The frond comes from the Brunn quarry, where most of the Solnhofen plant finds have been discovered. Terrestrial plant fossils support the premise that the Solnhofen Jurassic lagoons were adjacent to a large land mass. According to my understanding, this quarry is run by an educational institution. Once a year they sell a few of their finds at a German fossil show to raise money to support their institution. Of all the Solnhofen fossils collection sites, fossil cycads are only discovered at this one quarry in Brunn. These 150 million year old deposits are famous for their exceptionally well-preserved organisms, the most famous of which are the handful of specimens of the ancient bird Archaeopteryx.

Bennettitales (the cycadeoids) is an extinct order of seed plants that first appeared in the Triassic period and became extinct toward the end of the Cretaceous, thus existing from around 250 to 70 million years ago). Some were characterized by thick trunks and pinnately compound leaves that bore a superficial resemblance to those of cycads.

Also see: Solnhofen Fossils

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