A Pseudofossil

Spotted in the British Museum (London), a fantastic example of what is termed a “pseudofossil”.  The picture (below) shows a wonderful example of what looks like a fossilised, prehistoric plant.  However, all is not as it seems.

Not a Fossil Plant but a Pseudofossil

An example of a Pseudofossil.

A wonderful example of a pseudofossil in the British Museum (London).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The photograph shows what looks like a fossil plant.  However, the staining on this rock has been produced by an inorganic process.  The fern-like pattern has occurred as crystals of manganese oxide have come out of solution as water trickled through the layers of rock.  These crystals have been deposited on a bedding plane and they have grown to form this lace-like lattice, superficially similar to the structure of a plant.  This fine example can be found in the minerals gallery of the British Museum.

A similar phenomenon can be observed with ice crystals growing on the windscreen of cars and on windows during cold and frosty days.  These ice crystals too, form elegant fern-like structures.