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Fern fossil

Fern fossil

E440/0167

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Credit

HERVE CONGE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HERVE CONGE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Fern fossil. Rock containing fossilised fronds of a Pecopteris sp. fern. This fern dates from the Carboniferous period (350-290 million years ago). The Carboniferous period was a time when ferns dominated the land and, when they died, they formed large beds of coal (a form of carbon). This led to the name of Carboniferous for this geological time period. Fossils appear when rocks form around objects that have been buried in mud or ash. As the rock forms, the shape and anatomy of buried animals or plants can be preserved. Ferns are flowerless plants that reproduce using spores. They first appear in the fossil record during the Carboniferous period.

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