The beauty of this 180 million-year-old fossilized fern from southern Sweden shows cells in various stages of mitosis. It combines both rocks and plant organelles frozen in a volcanic flow.
The study was published last week in by Benjamin Bomfleur, Vivi Vajda, et al:
FOSSIL FERN CHROMOSOMES
The fossil had been languishing in a Swedish Museum drawer since the 1960's. The amazing thing about the specimen is the degree of cell detail shown with nuclei intact, distinct cytoplasm, and cells dividing, preserved as a hot brine of minerals replaced the cell structures. What a mitosis show!
The fossilized fern in the family Osmundaceae is essentially identical to the modern day Royal Fern, with little change in genome or DNA content. Like the classic horsetail fern, this Royal Fern is the same today as during the Jurassic Era. It is quite comparable to the cinnamon fern of the eastern U.S. and Canada.
This living fossil cinnamon fern reminds me, on a different scale, of mudcracks and other features seen on aerial images and segues to this amazing view of Moab, Utah, just published this week by the U. S. Geological Survey:
The wind deposited and eroded features includes numerous fins and arches show in the southwest and northeast portions of the image around the central city of Moab. These features on the ground in the Jurassic Entrada Sandstone look amazing and represent such change:
So, on one hand, here's a Jurassic fossil fern that hasn't changed in 180 million years, and a Jurassic-deposited landscape that is being eroded and changed every day. Recent collapses of arches in nearby Arches National Park allude to this change.
Isn't geology grand in all the contrasts and similarities? Have you been to these places? Were you in awe, wonder, happy and rich in fossils?