The fossils found at Gilboa, New York, offer a glimpse into a remarkable chapter of Earth’s history, showcasing some of the earliest known forests dating back approximately 385 million years to the Middle Devonian period. Here’s a breakdown of the main fossil types:

  • Plant fossils: These are the stars of the show, with the most prominent examples being fossilized tree trunks. The dominant species belong to two main groups:
    • Eospermatopteris: These were tall, slender trees related to ferns, reaching up to three stories in height. They are readily identifiable by their distinctive bottlebrush-like branches.
    • Lycopsids: These are an extinct group of plants related to modern-day mosses and ferns. They had unique features like leaves growing directly from the trunk and branches, unlike the separate branches and leaves seen in modern trees.
  • Other fossils: While plant life dominates the Gilboa fossil record, other finds offer insights into the surrounding ecosystem:
    • Eurypterids: These were giant sea scorpions, some reaching up to 7 feet in length, making them the largest arthropods ever known. They were formidable predators in the ancient seas.
    • Armored fish and fish relatives: These fossils represent some of the early fish species that thrived in the Devonian period, contributing to the era’s nickname, the “Age of Fishes.”

The exceptional preservation of the Gilboa fossils makes them invaluable for paleontologists studying the evolution of plant life on land and the diverse ecosystems of the Devonian period. You can find more information and images of these fascinating fossils at the Gilboa Fossils website: