Jurassic Tree - Araucaria Fossil
Above: Front of Specimen Card
Dating to the Jurassic Period, the "primitive" look of the Araucaria hasn't changed much over the last 200,000,000 years. Averaging 30-60 meters in height, these conifers feature straight, columnar trunks and branches covered in overlapping, scale-like leaves. It should come as no surprise that scientists believe this conifer was a favorite food for long-necked sauropods.
This specimen is a highly polished, fragment of petrified Araucaria wood recovered in Queensland, Australia. It was collected in accordance with Australia's cultural heritage and mining laws. This specimen first appeared in the Third Edition of the Mini Museum. It also featured in Age of Dinosaurs. These particular fragments were too large for inclusion in acrylic but their beauty is undeniable and must be shared!
Please Note: The size, color, and patterns of this specimen vary widely. They are all highly polished.
Like our polished Pangea fragments, Jurassic Tree is housed inside an acrylic specimen jar and presented in a classic, glass-topped riker display case measuring 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". A small information card is also enclosed, which also serves as the certificate of authenticity.
More about Jurassic Tree
Above: Modern Araucaria
Though well suited to subtropical climates, there are only pockets of Araucaria in the southern hemisphere today, primarily in Chile, Argentina, Australia, and the island of New Caledonia. Yet, during the Jurassic Period, Araucaria could be found in great abundance across the world along with other gymnosperms and ferns.
Recent digestive studies suggest that Araucaria is capable of yielding a surprising amount of energy when fermented for long periods. Taken together with Araucaria's former range and physical characteristics, it should come as no surprise that scientists believe this conifer was a favorite food for long-necked sauropods.
Above: Fossilized Araucaria
Like many modern herbivores, sauropods are thought to have been ruminants. Ruminants acquire nutrients in cooperation with various microbes through a multi-step process of fermentation in a series of stomach-like chambers. This process allows the host animal to consume plants that would otherwise be indigestible to animals with simple stomachs.
Given their size, we can expect that sauropods would have longer digestive cycles, and a longer fermentation period opens up the range of possible plants, including the tough but surprisingly energy-rich Araucaria.
Above: Back of Specimen Card