Time: Lower Cretaceous
by 48 mm
Strzelecki Group, Koonwarra Fish Beds, Leongnatha, East Gippsland, Victoria,
This is the fossil of a Ginkgo-like tree with fine preservational
details. The lacustrine deposit, the Koonwarra Fish Beds, is renowned
for the exquisitely-preserved fish found there, and is some 30 million
years younger than the Talbragar Biota with which it shares both
flora and fauna. The flora shows more affinities with the Rajmahal
Series in India, providing support for continental drift theory.
This one comes from an old collection; the road cut from which it
was obtained many years ago has been subsequently buried by the
Museum of Victoria due to roadway damage. This is a fine example
of the preservation for which this biota is known. The Ginkgophyta
probably originated about the same time as the Cycads during the
late Paleozoic. The fan-shaped leaves of most members are quite
distinctive. This one is atypical, with deeply dissected leaves.
Gingko biloba is the only extant member. The deeper russet brown
color of the plant matter contrasts well with the lighter matrix,
bringing out the detail. The repaired matrix crack does little to
detract from this exceptional specimen. The Ginkophytes are commonly
referred to as living fossils.
see: Living Fossils
Plant Fossils Ginkgo