Fossils found in Mantua 140-million years old

Raissa Tetanish
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

A high resolution image through a Scanning Electron Microscope shows pine tree fossils dating back 140-million years (from the Cretaceous ‘Age of the Dinosaur’) found in Bailey Quarry in Mantua, just outside Windsor, Hants County. Dr. Howard Falcon-Lang, who discovered the seven-millimetre long fossil, says it shows pines have always co-occurred with fire since their origin.

WINDSOR - A new fossil specimen found at Bailey Quarry outside Windsor has waited long enough.

The fossils are of the familiar pine tree, which dominates Northern Hemisphere forests today. Dr. Howard Falcon-Lang, of Royal Holloway, University of London, discovered the fossils in the quarry in Mantua.

“The fossils are important because they show that pines have always co-occurred with fire since their origin 140 million years ago,” Falcon-Lang said when reached in the United Kingdom.

It was Prof. Martin Gibling of Dalhousie University who found the fossil site, and invited Falcon-Lang as an expert on these particular fossils.

“Martin has a keen eye for fossils and has worked on the famous Joggins Fossil Cliffs,” said the fossil expert.

The tiny fossils, which measure about seven millimetres long, sat in Falcon-Lang’s cupboard for about five years after being collected. 

“It was only when I digested the rock samples in hydrofluoric acid that the tiny fossils became visible. It was incredibly exciting when I first viewed the fossils under the Scanning Electron Microscope. The tiny fossils were incredibly beautiful. However, very quickly I also realized that they were incredibly significant,” he said.

A press release on the find said the fossils, dating from the Cretaceous ‘Age of the Dinosaurs,’ are preserved as charcoal, the result of burning in wildfires.

“The fossils suggest that pines co-evolved with fire at a time when oxygen levels in the atmosphere were much higher and forests were especially flammable,” reads the release.

Falcon-Lang says pines are well adapted to fire today.

“The fossils show that wildfires raged through the earliest pine forests and probably shaped the evolution of this important tree,” according to Falcon-Lang says. 

Modern pine trees are prone to lethal fires because they store flammable resin-rich deadwood. They produce, however, huge numbers of cones that only germinate after a fire, which ensures new trees are seeded once the fire passes.

Organizations: University of London, Dalhousie University

Geographic location: Mantua, United Kingdom, Hants County

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Bruce Haight
    March 14, 2016 - 22:31

    I would only believe in abominable snowmen and aliens if natural history museums world wide had their skeletons on display.

  • David Keller
    March 12, 2016 - 21:23

    The earth is only 6000 years old created by God. Watch Kent Hovinds movies.

  • PIA
    March 12, 2016 - 18:14

    The Bible is FAKE along with all the cave man holy books. Get a life and realize the brain damage done by sad undeveloped emotions and the addictions of the egos of elitist religious ideas. This was all made for YOU, the great creation of GOD yours only. Go on youtube and watch how the evil god of the bible created everything to die by a cruel death of being eaten alive. Thankfully there is no god and that eating each other is part of natural selection, so we need no mental illness from blaming invisible coca cola bottle santa claus jesus allah god fictions.

  • Earthmanz
    March 12, 2016 - 09:41

    How can this be possible?We are told by some the planets only a little over 5.000 years old.So who's right? lol

  • Jeff Johnston
    March 11, 2016 - 15:51

    DINOSAURS are FAKE and the earth is 6000 years old . Check out the fake dinosaur video on TruthisKnocking on youtube .

    • Wilf Bart
      March 12, 2016 - 08:05

      Jeff! You're an idiot, and obviously uneducated.

    • Bruce Haight
      March 12, 2016 - 20:14

      Check out the real dinosaur bones in Drumheller Alberta .

    • GlynneZachary
      March 13, 2016 - 06:04

      Jeff Johnson. Give your head a shake. A living maraca.

    • Jeff Johnston
      March 14, 2016 - 00:21

      Hey Bruce Haight , I did check out Drumheller Alberta and those are some of the fakest looking skeletons I've ever seen . Do you also believe in aliens and the abominable snowman ?