DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fern stalk fossil. Surface of a pebble showing a cross-section through a stalk of a fern preserved in the rock as a fossil. The fern was buried under mud that preserved it and prevented normal decay. Over time, mineral deposits replaced the organic material, preserving the original structure. Tube structures (circles) in the stalk provided support and may have carried water and nutrients around the plant. Eventually, erosion of the rock containing the fossil produced this pebble. It was found in Tasmania, Australia. The area seen is 3 centimetres across.
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