60 million years old (Paleocene)
Fort Union Formation
6.8cm leaf, 11.6 x 10.4cm rock
*NOTE: THIS FOSSIL COMES WITH A GIFT BOX, A FLOATING FRAME AND ENGRAVED BASE, AN INFORMATION CARD, AND AN INTERNATIONAL AUTHENTICITY CERTIFICATE.
A spectacular fossil leaf (Zizyphoides flabellum) from the Fort Union Formation near Glendive, Montana. The dark orange/brown preservation contrasts well against the shale, and many of the details in the leaf can be seen clearly. There were some touchups to the surface of the leaf where some of it flaked onto the negative during collection.
Plant fossils are rare compared to fossils of bones, teeth, and shells. The soft tissues of leaves are usually destroyed long before fossilization can take place. Only when conditions are just right can leaves be preserved. The Goldilocks conditions needed are pretty simple. In order to fossilize, the freshly fallen leaf needs an undisturbed place with little/no oxygen. It could be buried in a landslide or fall to the bottom of a lake.