Glossopteris fossil leaves
- Date: ca. 252-299 million years old
- Found in : Mozambique
- Collection: Department of Geology
What is Glossopteris?
Glossopteris is a genus of extinct seed ferns, which, at first sight, closely resemble ferns. This plant could grow as tall as a tree. Glossopteris grew during the late Carboniferous period and the Permian Period, about 300 to 250 million years ago, when the Earth was still one supercontinent.
What is special about this fossil plant?
In the first half of the 20th century, geologist Eduard Suess discovered that Glossopteris fossils could be found on different continents. According to Suess, the reason for this was that, once upon a time, the three continents had been one vast supercontinent, which he called Gondwana. The distribution of the Glossopteris genus was therefore a key argument in favour of the continental drift hypothesis, which at the time still lacked support.