• Massive petrified redwood stumps

    Florissant Fossil Beds

    National Monument Colorado

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    The prescribed burn on approximately 180 acres of monument land starting the week of October 13 has been postponed. If conditions and planning updates are met, the operation may still occur later the month or maybe spring. Check back for updates. More »

Did you know?

FLFO sign

More than 220 national park units preserve fossils! However, only 9 units were specifically set aside to protect fossils and Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is one of those!

 
FLFO_justwasp

Up to 1,500 different kinds of fossil insects and spiders have been found in the Florissant fossil beds making it one of the most diverse insect fossil sites in the world.

 
FLFO_Brontothere-1

Fossil remains of a brontothere, a rhinoceros-like creature, have been found in the Florissant fossil beds. Brontotheres were enormous, with some standing over eight feet tall.

 
FLFO_bigstump

The massive petrified redwood stump known as the "Big Stump" is not actually the largest diameter stump at Florissant Fossil Beds. The "Big Stump" measures 38 feet in circumference, but the biggest stump is over 41 feet.

 
FLFO_maple

Some of the fossil plants found at Florissant fossil beds, like this maple seed, may have relatives that still live in Colorado.

 
FLFO_Petrified Trio

The world's only known petrified trio of redwood trees is found at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.

 

Prodryas persephone was the first fossil butterfly found in North America. This specimen was discovered by the homesteader Charlotte Hill and is now housed at Harvard University.

This image is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. To learn more Explore The World of Florissant Paleontology.

 

In addition to the leaves and insects found in the Florissant fossil beds, there are also wonderfully preserved flowers such as this Florissantia specimen. The flower was named after the town of Florissant, Colorado.

This image is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. To learn more Explore The World of Florissant Paleontology.

 

Weevils are a type of beetle, and they are among the smallest complete fossils found in the Florissant fossil beds. The fossil pictured here is less than 3 millimeters long, which is a little larger than the head of a pin but smaller than a pencil eraser.

This image is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. To learn more Explore The World of Florissant Paleontology.

 

Both adults and aquatic nymphs (juveniles) of damselflies and dragonflies have been found at the Florissant fossil beds. You can tell the picture is a damselfly because the wings are held above the body instead of held out horizontally like the wings of an airplane, as in dragonflies.

This image is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. To learn more Explore The World of Florissant Paleontology.

 

Fish are the most abundant vertebrates at the Florissant fossil beds, and the bowfin is the most primitive fish found here. The modern bowfin is considered a "living fossil" and is found in freshwater bodies of eastern North America.

This image is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. To learn more Explore The World of Florissant Paleontology.

 

When a spider dies its legs usually curl under its body, however the spiders preserved at Florissant fossil beds usually show the legs fully extended.

 

The modern Tsetse fly lives in Africa, but examples like the fossil pictured here have been found in the Florissant fossil beds. This fossil is 34.07 million years old.


This image is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. To learn more Explore The World of Florissant Paleontology.

 

Some of the fossil plants found at the Florissant fossil beds have no modern relatives in Colorado. One example is the modern Golden-rain tree, which is only found in eastern Asia today.

This image is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. To learn more Explore The World of Florissant Paleontology.

 

One of the most common fossils found in the Florissant Formation include leaves from Fagopsis, which is an extinct member of the beech family.


This image is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. To learn more Explore The World of Florissant Paleontology.

 
Although there are few known palm fronds from Florissant fossil beds, microscopic palm pollen has also been discovered. Palms are indicators of climate and suggest that the Eocene mean annual temperature was no less than 50°F.
 
mammoth

Most fossils in the monument are from the late Eocene (34.07 million years ago), but a tooth and jaw fragment from a much younger mammoth have also been found. The fossils are from the Pleistocene Epoch and are at least 50,000 years old.

 
bird diagram

This new bird specimen is the sixth identifiable bird from the Florissant Formation. In addition to the six birds, there are only seven other bird fossils including feathers, impressions, or partial skeletons.

 
gingko
The image on the left is the first and only fossil gingko leaf from Florissant fossil beds. A modern gingko leaf is on the right for comparison. The gingko is a "living fossil" as the genus appeared approximately 250 million years ago, but the modern species can still be found in China.
 
FLFO_Mountain mole

Fossil mammals are rare from the Florissant fossil beds, but a mountain mole was recently discovered, making it the oldest record in North America. in China.

Did You Know?

fossil_a

One of the most common fossils found in the Florissant Formation include leaves from Fagopsis, which is an extinct member of the beech family. This image is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. To learn