Eocene Poplar Leaf Fossil with Insect Damage

Name: Family: Salicaceae: Populus willmattae

Age: Eocene

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Poplar: 47 mm by 24 mm. Matrix: 55 mm by 78 mm

Location: Green River Shale, Uintah County, Utah

Description: The Green River Formation deposits of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah are best known for their immaculately-preserved fish, but other examples are known as well, as this specimen attests. This leaf from a tree of the Willow family which shows evidence of damage due to insect feeding. The damage here was done a long time before the leaf was deposited in the stratum as shown by the fact that the holes have a dark edge where the leaf had scarred as a result of the attack. The presence of this tree is indicative of the lakeside environment in which it lived. Some 50,000 square miles of what is now Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado were covered by large lakes during the Eocene.

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