Huge Fossil Is Oldest Giant Flowering Tree in North America
The 92-million-year-old discovery pushes back the presence of these massive plants in the region by 15 million years.
About 92 million years ago in what's now central Utah, a terrible storm blew over a huge flowering tree, which was washed down a river and into an ancient delta. Sediments buried part of the tree's trunk, which then mineralized—preserving a fossil that's now breaking records.
In a new study published on Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers present the oldest evidence of large flowering trees in North America. The record-breaking fossil is a petrified log nearly six feet wide and 36 feet long. Researchers say that the tree probably stood about 170 feet tall in life, making it twice as tall as Utah's tallest living tree.
The fossil tree trunk probably belongs to Paraphyllanthoxylon, an ancient genus known from