The Clarno Nut Beds flora is made up of predominantly angiosperms (flowering plants) like magnolias, walnuts, kiwi, bananas and others. The beds also contain gymnosperms (produces seeds without fruit) like Gingko, Yews, and more. The Nut Beds also preserve over 66 genera and 77 species of petrified woods, making it the most species rich fossil wood locality on Earth of any age.
Patriofelis ferox was a creodont, an extinct group of carnivorous mammals, similar to the size of a modern panther. Patriofelis translated from Latin means “father cat,” but this refers to superficially similar anatomy, rather than a relationship to the cat family (Felidae). It first appeared in the middle Eocene some 45 million years ago. It had short legs with broad flat feet, suggesting that it may have been a poor runner, but a better swimmer and climber. It is difficult to determine the locomotion style because it belongs to an extinct family of carnivorous mammal.
Pristichampsus sp. was a crocodile that lived alongside many mammals 44 million years ago. It had heavily armored skin and long legs, suggesting it was a cursorial (adapted to running) reptile that spent most of its time hunting terrestrial mammals. Pristichampsus’teeth were sharp and had serrated edges, characteristic of modern terrestrial crocodiles.
Orohippus major was a three toed horse that likely had great agility and maneuverability. It was about the size of a Border Collie, diminutive by comparison with other modern horses. Orohippus has an enlarged middle toe, a defining equine trait. However, this browser would look more like a prehistoric deer because of its small size and low-crown teeth.
Hyrachyus eximius was a perissodactyl (odd-toed ungulate) mammal related to the modern tapirs and rhinoceroses. It would have looked similar to a tapir, but probably lacked the tapir’s proboscis (trunk) as there is no evidence preserved in the nasal bones which would have been retracted to support this. Hyrachyus' teeth resembled those of a rino, suggesting its ecological role as a ground dwelling browser.
For complete lists of fossils found at the Clarno Nut Beds, email us.