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Ron Pickerill and Howard Falcon-Lang

Ron Pickerill, a University of New Brunswick professor in Fredericton has been studying the Albert Formation for many years. Pickerill’s specialty is the study trace fossils and the information they yield about paleoenvironment. Arthropod resting traces called Cruziana and Rusophycus are some of the fossils he has described. Pickerill has also been leading student field trips to Albert Formation outcrops. In the 1990s road construction at one of the field sites near Norton opened new road cuts that revealed a fossilized forest of over 700 trees. Pickerill and his students were treated to an unusual occurrence that would lead to new information about Lower Carboniferous vegetation. The Geological Survey of Canada described fossil plants here in the early 1900s.

Howard Falcon-Lang is one of the scientists studying Carboniferous plant fossils today. While he works in the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway College near London, England, he studies Carboniferous fossils all over the world, including those in New Brunswick. Falcon-Lang’s research in New Brunswick has included the fossil plant-beds exposed at Fern Ledges in Saint John, and the history of Carboniferous forest fires. He has also studied the fossil forest near Norton, an unprecedented opportunity to examine hundreds of standing trees. Falcon-Lang’s research compared the ancient with the modern forests. The forest stands in the Early Carboniferous rocks were densely packed along the margins of ancient rivers, and consisted almost entirely of one species of the clubmoss Lepidodendropsis.