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ULTRA RARE GIANT LEPIDODENDRON IMPRINT ON RUHR SANDSTONE SLAB

Ruhr Sandstone Formation - Munster, Germany

CARBONIFEROUS PERIOD:  320 million years ago

The rarity of this specimen cannot be overstated.  If you are familiar with fossil plants and imprints of the Carboniferous lycopod, Lepidodendron, you will be most accustomed to seeing broken fossil imprint fragments of the unique bark structure that is found in small, non-impressive sizes.  This is the first time we have encountered such a huge and completely unbroken slab of such a large portion of the tree trunk.  It is an exceedingly rare large imprint of the side of a Lepidodendron, a tree-sized club moss.  To further its value, it is a slab from the world famous Ruhr sandstone layers in Germany.  Known for its lycopod fossils, this specimen is unique not only for its detail, but also for its unbroken large dimension.

As the trunk was buried under tons of sediments during the fossilization process, it was crushed flat as a board.  One edge of the imprint is complete to the outer perimeter of the stem.  The detail of the bark surface is unbelievable and completely three dimensional, without distortion.  Even if you have no interest in plant fossils, it would be hard not to be speechless in the presence of this spectacular piece.  It offers a very rare glimpse on a large scale of what these towering club mosses in the swamp forests looked like over 300 million years ago!

During the Carboniferous Period, a large portion of Europe and North America was on the equator.  The warm and consistently humid climate was ideal for the growth of extensive swampy forests.  The Paralic Basin was the largest Carboniferous basin which comprised regions of what are now Ireland, England, northern France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany (Ruhr District) and Poland.  Periodic changes in the sea levels caused the rivers that traversed these forests to flood, depositing massive amounts of sand and mud thereby burying the forest along the banks.  In a period of one million years, several thousand meters of sediment would be deposited, densely packing and pressing the abundant vegetation into flattened rock fossil impressions.  The most common vegetation in these forests were Sigillaria and Lepidodendron.

Lepidodendron and Sigillaria are lycopods, or more commonly known as club mosses.  They belong to the lycophytes group, today only represented by a handful of small herbaceous forms.  While they were giant tree-sized plants, Lepidodendron and Sigillaria are not actually classified as trees but are very unique types of plants that died out hundreds of millions of years ago.  Both grew to amazing heights exceeding 100 feet with stems over 6 feet in diameter!  Their branches were draped with long, grass-like foliage of spirally arranged leaves and cones containing spores.  

Lepidodendron is famous for its unmistakable scale-like bark.  The plant was anchored at the base not be a deep root system but by several shallow running Y-shaped branches called stigmaria.  The upper branches at the top of the plant terminated in cigar-shaped cones called Lepidostrobus.  Depending on the specific species of Lepidodendron, these cones contained either small or large spores, or both.  The presence of Lepidodendron fossils suggest a very hot and humid environment existed where they once thrived.

THE LARGEST AND FINEST SPECIMEN YOU WILL SEE FOR PUBLIC SALE - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

16" x 11.75", bark impression 12.75" in length

SOLD     PL-001     STAND INCLUDED     Actual Item - One Only

795