Fossil Traces of Mysterious Fish Scales from 300 Million Years Ago Send Shockwaves Through Alabama Stream

The serene creek beds of Birmingham, Alabama, recently played host to an unexpected revelation when Tristen Klavenga stumbled upon a rock adorned with mysterious scales.

Initially resembling a prehistoric palm or tree, Klavenga soon considered the possibility of it being a fossilized imprint of fish scales due to its scaly appearance.

This intriguing fossil discovery, which had eluded notice despite Klavenga’s frequent visits to the site, gained attention when shared on the subreddit r/fossilid. Fellow users on Reddit identified the scaly stone as a Lepidodendron, an extinct type of tree that thrived approximately 300 million years ago.

During this period, the continents of the Americas, Africa, and Europe were joined in the super-continent known as Pangea, contributing to the widespread distribution of Lepidodendron fossils.

Also referred to as “Scale Trees,” Lepidodendron grew to impressive heights of about 100 feet and featured unbranched trunks with needle-like leaves clustered at their growing tips.

The distinctive scale-like scars on the stems resulted from shedding leaves as the plants grew. Klavenga’s find garnered praise from the online fossil enthusiast community for its detailed preservation and uniqueness.

Expressing surprise at the degree of preservation, Klavenga, an experienced fossil hunter and bartender in Birmingham, highlighted the awe-inspiring aspect of uncovering remnants of life from the Carboniferous period.

Despite having encountered similar imprinted fossils before, the exceptional preservation of this scale tree added a new dimension to Klavenga’s fossil exploration.

The bartender’s discovery not only showcases the wonders of Alabama’s geological history but also underscores the ongoing potential for new revelations hidden beneath the Earth’s surface.

The fossilized Lepidodendron serves as a captivating reminder of the mysteries awaiting discovery, whether revealed by the forces of nature or keen eyes observing the ground beneath our feet.


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