The following is an excerpt from the January 30, 2018 edition of the NYC DEP Weekly Pipeline Newsletter.
DEP on Friday donated a fossil from the oldest fossilized forest in the world to the Gilboa-Conesville Central School, which will use it to educate local children about the ancient forest that once occupied their town. The 385-million-year-old fossil is among the oldest tree fossils discovered in the history of the world.
The remnants of those trees were first discovered in 1869 by Samuel Lockwood, a local Reformed Church minister and naturalist. In 1921, workers harvesting quarry stones for Gilboa Dam, which impounds the water for Schoharie Reservoir, found more stumps from the ancient trees.
Several hundred sections of fossilized trees were found at three sites around the old village of Gilboa. Their size ranged from 12 inches to more than 3 feet in diameter. Dr. Winifred Goldring, who would become the nation’s first female state paleontologist when she took the position in New York, named the Eospermatoperis.
One of the quarries was excavated again in 2010 to prepare for the $138 million rehabilitation
of Gilboa Dam, allowing paleontologists to reexamine the prehistoric forest floor. More information can be found by visiting the Gilboa Historical Society Museum, located at 122 Stryker Road in Gilboa.
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