Eocene Leaves

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These fossils have a rather extensive history, and I am hoping that some of you can help identify where they came from.

Back in the 1930’s a gentlemen by the name of Duckworth collected fossil leaves from a clay pit near Idalia, MO. These leaves were of very high quality, which he collected 270 distinct specimens, made up of 16 species. He sent these samples to the U S National Museum, who kept the duplicates, and sent him back 68 specimens from the Fort Union Formation from Montana, which were of a similar age but from a higher altitude.

After Dr. Duckworth left SEMO, his collection was moth-balled, and all of his paperwork was lost. A lady was recently asked to clean up the collection, or throw it out. She cleaned it up very nicely, but without paperwork, she didn’t know what these specimens were, and had a few in a give away box, which I quickly scarfed up.

The quality and frequency of the fossils is also alluded to by Stewart, who was a geologist for the State of Missouri, in an unpublished manuscript “The Mesozoic and Cenozoic Geology of Southeastern Missouri”, where he states, “…under the blow of a hammer along their parting planes. When broken in this manner, beautiful impressions of fossils leaves are almost always found”

The Poston Clay Plant was closed in 1927, along with the pit area, which is now grown up in mature forests. No further work has been done in this area (that I am aware of).

My question is this, can anybody tell is these specimens are from the Montana Fort Union formation? Can anybody speculate on family or species?

The following were identified as being found:

Ilex eolignitica
Ficus puryearensis
Mesopilodaphne eolignitica
Necatandra lowii
Oreodaphne obtusifolia
Sapindus formosus
Sapindus eoligniticus
Apocynophyllum sapindifolium
Banksia tenufolium
Canavalia acuminate
Canavalia eocenica
Casia fayettensis
Cassia wilcoxiana
Cinnamomum very
Cupanites formosus
Dryophyllum tenneseensis

Any questions, comments, insights, or speculations are always appreciated.

Brent Ashcraft

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