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Petrified fruit.

Posted by Andy Klotz  
Andy Klotz December 13, 2011 04:37PM
Many years ago a school freind showed me two petrified fruits,an apple and a pear. I remember them like it was yesterday. These things were fully silicified, brown 2" or 50mm,the pear being slightly longer in size. One of them had the stem still attached.They were not carved, having no signs of machine marks or polishing and had irregularities on their somewhat smooth surfaces.
He told me his uncle had found them in a mound of earth at his orchard in New Zealand. I was confused at the time, having read that silicification of wood took millions of years. Fruit rots very quickly or at least shrivels but these were pretty intact.
Anyone have any ideas as to how short a time the silicification process might in fact take? keeping in mind that apples and pears have not been around long in New Zealand.
Has anyone seen or heard of any other petrified fruit?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2011 04:17AM by Andy Klotz.
Robert Knox December 13, 2011 06:03PM
I have heard of Australian fence posts that have petrified since the turn of the last century; so the amount of time doesn't have to be measured in million's of years.

As far as fossil fruit...I picked up a supposed "quartz psudomorph of baryte" , that was later identified as a petrified breadfruit. It's from the Henry Mts. of Utah, and dated from the Cretaceous. The only other petrified fruit I've personally seen were figs.
D Mike Reinke December 13, 2011 06:03PM

I've been to Funk's gem and mineral museum in Shirly, Illinois, a pretty cool museum for a one man operation. Look it up online. Bill Case is the guy who shows you around. He shows you a petrified mushroom that doesn't seem like it could have taken many years to happen: He said Mr. Funk didn't finish cataloging everything so there is no record of where it was from, and no one has any others, so info is very limited. Coprolite is claimed to be dinosaur dung, and that couldn't have taken too long, it would seem. That is a very low budget item at all the mineral shows, but at least it is not sold for it's healing powers! I've heard of dinosaurs being mummified, not just skeletons, but haven't seen real detailed information on that, either. So this won't answer your question, others can weigh in, i'd like more info on this, like you do. take care.

Andy Klotz December 13, 2011 06:39PM
Interesing about the fence posts.Saves them rotting for the next few million years hey.
So it seems that these highly perishable things must be converted pretty quick. A mushroom doesn't last long usually or a piece of dung. Oh I heard that the copralites are good for curing constipation.
I shall have a look at that museum site later, thanks Mike!
I'd be interested to see a photo of the breadfruit Robert, sounds like a great score.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2011 04:20AM by Andy Klotz.
Alfredo Petrov December 13, 2011 08:14PM
Spring waters rich in calcium carbonate are sometimes used to fake petrification, as for example in Karlovy Vary, Bohemia, where you can buy everything from petrified roses (yes, in full bloom!) to petrified baby shoes. Fruit might work too :-S
Donald Slater December 13, 2011 08:45PM
The fact that the petrified fruit seems to be intact and had not shriveled before starting to petrify doesn't sound possible. Even fruit, which has a very high water content, were buried very quickly to prevent decay, dehydration and anything eating it, it would have undergone dehydration, I may be using the wrong term, during petrification. They are most likely some stone that due to erosion or other natural processes were shaped like fruit. At many of the gem and mineral shows there is a traveling exhibit of a table set for a feast and everything is natural shaped rocks that resemble food. It is amazing the remarkable resemblance to the real thing. Lots of people bring rocks to my shop that look amazingly like some petrified creature or plant and turn out to be just products of erosion. There are lots of theories on how long it takes for something to petrify and I am sure it depends on the conditions, time, temperature, amount of silica in the water and many others. I am not sure what the most popular theory is at present. I have seen the "petrified roses" Alfredo refers to but I don't think that in this case the roses and shoes, etc. would not be truly considered petrified. The rose has not been replaced, just encased in a thick coating of limestone. I never broke one open though. I have heard of cases in East Texas where they claim the end of fence post that were set in the last hundred years or so are petrified but I think that they are either mesquite which when cured is almost impossible to drive a nail in, believe me I have built many a fences in south Texas, or the pores have just been filled in with mineral from the mineral rich ground water but the wood has not been completely replace.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/13/2011 09:06PM by Donald Slater.
Ibrahim Jameel December 14, 2011 12:36AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2011 12:37AM by Ibrahim Jameel.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph December 14, 2011 12:41AM
Norman King December 14, 2011 02:24AM
If you Google “petrified fruit” you will see a pear (note–another pear!) that is replaced by salt appearing to be rather coarsely crystalline. It also has the stem attached. It was found in the Black Rock Desert of northwestern Nevada by the poster’s father, and reportedly collected in the 1950's on a salt flat. Why a pear, again? Note that apples and pears are close relatives in the fruit world. And why would someone find a fresh-appearing petrified pear on a salt flat? How long was it there before becoming petrified? (Apparently not long enough to become dessicated in the slightest.) Andy reports his fruits are silicified. I have heard of soft-bodied organisms becoming inclosed in silica gel that was rolling around on the sea floor. The preservation can be so faithful that cells apparently petrified in the process of dividing have been documented, and are not completely separated. But an apple and a pear lying on the ground in New Zealand? If those had been bananas, I would expect to see at most only the peels.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2011 03:24AM by Norman King.
Andy Klotz December 14, 2011 05:55AM
Like the petrified banana! Found another reference to silicified fruit -google- Xinjiang Stone Forests. Sounds like an amazing place.
In regards to the pear and apple, they came complete with the calyx at one end and the stem on one was snapped like you would expect. The silica rich ground water common in some parts of New Zealand could be responsible.
Worth looking at is this site about the silica teraces that disappeard sudenly along with a vilage in a volcanic eruption-
Robert Knox December 14, 2011 04:53PM
Andy, I'll try to borrow a camera and post some photos later this week.

Dinosaurs mummified...? A researcher managed to extract some protein strands from the marrow of a mesozoic dino, in a fossilized femur(I believe). It made big news as the strands were still flexible. I'm not sure if they collected whole DNA, or just fragments. The bone was otherwise normally petrified.

I have acquired dozens of petrified wood samples through the years that have incredible preservation. By far the most detailed are from a lower Permian forest in Brazil. Even under 50x magnification, the preservation is incredible. Most of the specimens aren't really "wood" at all, but are from seed ferns/tree ferns and the last of the giant club moss species. Early conifer/pre-conifer are the exceptions. I also have a small round of an American NW hardwood(30 mybp), that at 20x magnification clearly shows eggs of some insect in the middle. In fact I've seen many examples of this.
The point is that nothing would surprise me when it comes to petrification.
D Mike Reinke December 14, 2011 08:08PM
Petrified threaders:

Have you seen this? National Geographic news. Is any of this ever been put on display anywhere? Certainly if there is a whole forest, there's fruit, no? Wonder what shape it is in.
Giant Underground Fossil Forests Show Record of Warming


Jenna Mast December 14, 2011 11:00PM
I once saw a photo of a waterfall somewhere.The water had a high mineral content and people would hang stuffed animals on the rocks in the path of the water and the stuffed animals would mineralize.

I know, a little different from petrification but still interesting!
D Mike Reinke December 19, 2011 04:20PM
'Mummified' is either embalmed, or dehydrated, right? Is there any other shade of meaning or scenario i missed? If something rots, it can't also petrify can it?? I took a bone from the Embarras riverbed found one dry august, to Vincennes University, and they used the word 'permineralized' for 'fossilized'. (It hadn't permineralized, it was apparently a neck bone from a big bison.)

Robert Knox December 19, 2011 05:51PM
Petrified, lithofied, mineralized, scilicified, agatized. All of these terms have been used to describe a nodule that was once a living thing, but now is stone. Though there seems to be inconsistencies about their preferred usage.

Fossilized means 10,000 years of age or older, and not necessarily "turned to stone".

Norman King December 20, 2011 12:38AM
Mike: Most mummies either dried out in an arid setting, or fell into a peat bog. These are seemingly opposite situations, but both retard bacterial decomposition. Animals that fall into ice cevasses may freeze, and that prevents bacterial decay as well. Some people say that mummification should refer to specifically to embalming, but they seem to have lost the battle on that. Tissues that have rotted away may have left a mark (called a mold) in the enclosing material that is a form of petrification. And you seem to know that permineralization refers to mineral matter being precipiated in holes or pores within an object. I think that none of the Pleistocene bones I have seen from the Plains states were permineralized. Their open spaces are still filled with air. Some bones are partially pemineralized, however--one part of them, or minerals have begun to precipitate uniformly all over but have not completley filled in the holes yet.

Robert: Petrified, lithified, and mineralized all refer to the general situation. You can be more precise such as silicified or agatized only if you know what material has replaced the original remains. A fossil must indeed be at least 10,000 years old. That is the arbitrary date chosen to mark the beginning of the Holocene Epoch. It corresponds to the date that glaciers had pretty much left the U.S. lower 48 (but were still present in Canada). So, fossils must be remains from an earlier geological age. You are correct that no alteration need have occurred to be a fossil. You just gotta be old.
David Garske December 20, 2011 02:45AM
When I was a grad student at the U. of Michigan, I received a perfect stone pear, complete with proper color. Dr. Chester Slawson told me that these were made as table decorations from marble in the 1880-90's.
Norman King December 21, 2011 04:43PM

Yesterday (20 Dec) I saw additional posts, some critical of the identification of the fossils as remains of dinosaurs, and discussion over getting photos displayed here on mindat. Those may have been the second page postings. But today, there is no page 2 and the more recent posts are gone. What happened?

I may be critical of them, too, but I want to see them before announcing that (Duh!).

Among other things, photos of that material, if it is not dinosaurian, may shed some light on why that interpretation was nevertheless made. Maybe some of it is of biological origin and therefore legitimate fossils.

The coprolite photos posted earlier appear to indeed show coprolites.

Is it my system that is messed up?
Clifford Trebilcock December 21, 2011 06:38PM

I noted same thing, maybe Jolyon can shed a light. Think I noted an inappropriate remark posted toward the end of the page.

D Mike Reinke December 21, 2011 08:27PM

I noticed another thread that got really loopy/creepy is gone too, several pages. Must be some necessary housecleaning from the mindat staff. I don't believe any pictures other than the first one of the subject were ever posted, last time I looked. When it got to ' I see what you don't" it lost all relevance, don't you think? That is why this is mindat, not beliefdat or witchdat! lol. Thanks mindat.

Norman King December 21, 2011 08:49PM
Of course, Mindat is not a fossils forum, but we have discussed other ID's that turned out to be fossils for a few rounds. What threw me here was the lack of an explanation. If Laurie wants me to look at more of his material, he'll have to contact me with a personal message and the photos.

Season's greetings, everyone.
Peter Andresen December 21, 2011 09:44PM
I guess I have to apologize, being partly responsible for a bad turn of the discussion last night. But I didn't like how Ibrahims serious and diplomatic explanations about some pseudofossils was answered... I guess I have to try to be better waiting to my head cools down before I junp into a discussion like that...
Jolyon & Katya Ralph December 21, 2011 09:54PM
Sorry guys, it got out of hand and I had to purge it. I suspect the original poster was deliberately "trolling"

Norman King December 21, 2011 10:21PM
Peter: From my standpoint, don’t be concerned.

Jolyon: Yeah, and I remember the thread involving a space-cadet who wanted us to confirm he had found the remains of exploded planets (or something like that) that had impacted the Earth, and the cadet wasn’t going to shut up until we did. I thought I sank his ship in the end, but maybe you did something I wasn’t even aware of.

As for the dinosaurs, it’s one thing to claim to have found readily fossilizable dinosaur bones in Australia, but quite another to claim to have found Archaeopteryx and Microraptor head mummies, complete with feather impressions. Laurie said he would send a photo of the eye area somewhere else on the snout. I mean, it’s killing me! I really wanted to see those!
Andy Klotz December 22, 2011 03:23PM
The missing page was a little trippy, but the discussion was getting rather odd I must say. I was trying hard to believe there might be some validity to the dino claim, but my curiosity made me give the benefit of the doubt. Thanks for the purge Jolyon. I think its for the best.
I appreciate both frankness and diplomacy in different peoples takes on things.
Found quite a nice article explaining experiments in the process of rapid petrification of wood using water glass. Here's the link.
I would like to try the experiment some time using fruit.
I know its off topic but here's that coprolite again from Nundle NSW Aust. just to add a little visual interest to the thread.And caus I think its kinda cool.
open | download - 003 (3).JPG (356.5 KB)
Robert Knox December 22, 2011 06:19PM
So ah...anyone see the petrified potato on e-bay?

I too, was looking forward to the possible dino pics. I have several Jurassic wood & fern species from Queensland, and often wondered about their possible animal kingdom contemporaries.

Andy, I will still try to get some photos posted of the breadfruit. By the the poop!
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