Unprecedented fossil discovered at Grand Canyon National Park

By Michel Marizco
Published: Friday, April 5, 2024 - 11:31am
Updated: Friday, April 5, 2024 - 4:33pm

Picture of fossil and green horsetail plant side by side
National Park Service
The National Park Service released this photo of a fossil discovered in Grand Canyon National Park compared to a modern horsetail plant.

The National Park Service says it’s found a new fossil in Grand Canyon National Park.

Officials say the new fossil was unearthed at the 1½-Mile Resthouse while work was being done on the Transcanyon Waterline project. That’s the massive pipeline that moves water from the North Rim to the South Rim. A researcher identified the fossil as Equisetalean strobilus.

It’s nearly 300 million years old and stems from the reproductive organ of a type of extinct horsetail plant. The plant’s fossils are not uncommon in the rock of the Canyon’s Hermit Formation, but researchers say finding a fruiting body where plant spores are contained on the plant is unprecedented.

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