Jurassic Maple Leaf
Finding fossils with plant leaves, flowers and fruit turned to stone is nothing new, but in Northern Idaho a vast deposit of still fresh leaves have been discovered. Totally amazing! What’s more some of the species that have been found have been extinct so long that no one knows what they are. The experts working on the scene can actually lift the leaves intact from the split rock and hold it in their hands. Sound far out or unbelievable? Truth can be stranger than fiction! This is very real.

For paleobiologists this is incredibly exciting. For any average gardener it is still quite intriguing. Their existence in such a pristine state of preservation is only due to a cataclysmic event. It’s odd feeling glad that a volcano destroyed the landscape, yet without the abrupt and horrendous change, none of this would be possible. What’s more, it is clear that this took place during a period of rapid climate change.

Acer palmatum - a.k.a. Japanese Maples have super similar leaf shape to that prehistoric leaf.

With today’s knowledge and technology, the DNA can be mapped. Watch the first part of the video closely. You’ll see they show a humongous sycamore leaf that you are thinking could be Dieffenbachia until the biologist verbally identifies it. On one of the next rocks shown is a portion of what looks to be a Maple leaf that was probably about the size of a basketball! If it’s not a Maple, it has to be related, the shaping is just to uncanny. Not just any old Maple either, but some type of Acer palmatum (more commonly known as a Japanese Maple) like this one on the left. So amazing, I grabbed it for the post image above.

It’s a video you’ll be glad you took a few moments to view.

A closer look at these incredible fossils: Honest Ab

Tammy Clayton

Content crafter and Senior Editor at Garden Culture Magazine
Tammy has been immersed in the world of plants and growing since her first job as an assistant weeder at the tender age of 8. Heavily influenced by a former life as a landscape designer and nursery owner, she swears good looking plants follow her home. (Some feel she's got a perennial obsession, others say the problem is tomato plants.)

If you don't find her at the desk - check the gardens. When not writing and weeding, she enjoys a good book, painting junk furniture, and blending the harvest of heirloom tomatoes and chiles into salsas.