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Hell Creek Dawn Redwood - Fossilized Metasequoia Cones

Hell Creek Dawn Redwood - Fossilized Metasequoia Cones

 "Bet you'll never look at pine cones the same way again..."


The Hell Creek formation of North America is one of the most famous fossil hunting locations in the world. Spread over portions of North and South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming, Hell Creek is a unique time capsule, capturing the final years of the dinosaurs as well as many other flora and fauna.

Above: Exposures of the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek and Lance formations in western North America. (Lamanna MC, Sues H-D, Schachner ER, Lyson TR - Lamanna MC, Sues H-D, Schachner ER, Lyson TR (2014) A New Large-Bodied Oviraptorosaurian Theropod Dinosaur from the Latest Cretaceous of Western North America. PLoS ONE 9(3): e92022. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092022)

Spanning the final years of the upper Cretaceous as well as the lower Paleocene, Hell Creek is also a witness to destruction. The iridium-rich layer of the K-Pg boundary which provides a physical record of the massive Chicxulub impact event.

Above: Metasequoia Fossil Cone pictured Metasequoia Fossil Frond impressions. 

These cones come from extinct metasequoia trees. Also known, as the dawn redwood, the metasequoia is the “smallest” of the Redwood family though height is relative considering modern varieties of metasequoia in China typically grow to more than 50 meters in height (165 ft).

Above: Modern Metasequoia in Autumn

These giants once stood tall over a landscape of river deltas and floodplains which bordered an inland sea. Dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Pachycephalosaurs, Edmontosaurus, and numerous dromaeosaurid species like Daktoaraptor roamed here along with invertebrates, marine reptiles, and mammals.

Today, the fossil remains of the dawn redwood are typically discovered in small caches, as the majority of plants in the Hell Creek formation are flowering angiosperms. If fossils are found, it is typically petrified wood and cones such as these are exceedingly rare.

Please Note: The cones vary widely in diameter and detail. They're a bit too thick for our regular cases, and frankly, they're fun to hold. So, we've opted to ship the cones with an arcylic stand (also known as a "dimple" block). The cones and the stands are individually wrapped for protection and placed inside a heavy duty shipping box. A small information card is also included.

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