Prehistoric Tree Looked Like a Dr. Seuss Drawing

Fossils unearthed in Canada remind us that millions of years ago, life took forms that seem quite alien to us, as explosions of different plants adapted to changing conditions on earth. An example is the tree in the illlustration above. The people in the image above are only there for scale. The tree they are standing under lived 35 million years ago, and was unlike anything humans ever saw. The tree left an impression in a lake bed that became a fossil in New Brunswick. Scientists have designated it as Sanfordiacaulis densifolia, although they aren't clear whether it is related to any other known tree from the period. This tree had leaves that were six feet long and extended out from a non-woody trunk only six inches thick! The overall shape is like that of a bottle brush. The upper canopy would have extended far from the trunk and intercepted light as best as it could underneath taller trees. You have to wonder how much all that foliage weighed and how such a spindly trunk could hold it up. Read what we know about Sanfordiacaulis densifolia from its fossil evidence at Gizmodo. 

(Image credit: Tim Stonesifer)

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