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Wayne Lockhart, D.V. Venugopal, Rob Fensome and Howard Falcon-Lang

Most of the geological periods recognized in New Brunswick were known by the end of the 19th century even though much detailed work still needed to be done. The Cretaceous rocks near Vinegar Hill remained hidden from view and were not discovered until the 1980s by Wayne Lockhart when he described the rocks for the Department of Natural Resources.  The rocks were recognized as probably Cretaceous age early on, but further work on a few rare fossils has helped suggest their age as Early Cretaceous, about 100 million years old. In 2001 workers at the Atlantic Silica Inc. quarry spotted something unusual during operations. They recovered a small piece of fossil wood that has been identified by Howard Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway College in London as belonging to the genus Araucarioxylon. People may know one fossil species Araucarioxylon arizonicum from the Triassic age petrified forest in Arizona. Araucarioxylon is a conifer, its closest relative today is the monkey-puzzle tree and the Norfolk Island Pine. In 1999 D.V. Venugopal of the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources had collected samples containing pollen and spores. They were identified by Rob Fensome at the Geological Survey of Canada in Dartmouth as belonging to a gymnosperm (seed-bearing plants that includes conifers, cycads and Ginkgo) and a fern.