Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/124

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120
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

much more like that of the forest region of the eastern states than any part of Colorado to-day. After working at Florissant in the summer of 1907, I had occasion to spend some time at Garrison-on-Hudson, and as I daily went through the splendid woods of that region, it seemed to me as if the flora of the shale had come to life. There was the sweet fern, Comptonia, to-day confined to a single species of the eastern United States; in Miocene times wide-spread, and represented by two kinds at Florissant. There was the large-toothed aspen; leaves with even larger teeth, but very similar, were found in the shales. Then the chestnut—great chestnut leaves, of an undescribed species, were among the best of our finds. So also the basswood, the walnut, the ironwood, elm, hickory, holly and many other trees, now wholly

 

PSM V73 D124 Fossil fern phegopteris guyottii.png

Fossil Fern (Phegopteris guyottii).

 

absent from Colorado, but common to the Miocene shales and the eastern states. One of the most interesting of the fossils is the sweet-gum, or Liquidambar; a genus widely dispersed in the Miocene, from America to Europe, while now its few scattered remnants are found in our Atlantic coast region, in Mexico and Central America and in Asia. On the other hand, the existing Rocky Mountain flora is represented in the Florissant shales by species of oak, alder, birch, hackberry, barberry, mock-orange or Philadelphia, maple, gooseberry, grape, rose, hawthorn, mountain ash, willow, Virginia creeper, sumach and a number of others, showing that with all the change of climate which has occurred, the flora has not been totally transformed.

No recognizable mammal has been obtained at Florissant; only a