The climate of Fossil Lake 50 million years ago was subtropical, similar to the climate of Florida today. The lake’s paleoenvironment persisted for about 2 million years, and was home to palm trees and many other plants. Unique conditions came together to result in some of the best-preserved fossil plants ever discovered.
Plant specimens found in Fossil Lake are closely related to many modern species. For example palm fronds, closely related to the modern sable palm, are still found throughout the sedimentary layers of Fossil Lake.
The palm specimen to the left is 66 inches tall. Palm fronds can range anywhere from 4 feet, all the way up to 12 feet tall. The above palm flower stretches 48 inches long.