Ginkgo Fossil from Koonwarra Fish Beds

Ginkgoites australis

Division Ginkgophyta

Geological Time: Lower Cretaceous

Size: 50 by 48 mm

Fossil Site: Strzelecki Group, Koonwarra Fish Beds, Leongnatha, East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

Description: 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.

Also see: Living Fossils Plant Fossils Ginkgo Fossils

click to enlarge

Fossil Museum Navigation:
Geological Time Paleobiology Geological History Tree of Life
Fossil Sites Fossils Evolution Fossil Record Museum Fossils