Fossil Plant Exhibit Now on Display at Strecker Museum

July 15, 1996

WACO, Texas - An exhibit of fossil plants, some of which are millions of years old, is currently on display at Baylor University's Strecker Museum.

The exhibit consists of a collection of petrified plant remains which includes various types of wood and other plants. The collection was given to Strecker Museum by Valley Mills residents Dallas and Hattie Farmer who have built the collection over the last 60 years. Of the 168 total pieces of the collection, 98 specimens will be on display.

Farmer, who is 85, said he has collected the fossil specimens from more than 26 countries on four continents. A 1933 Baylor alumnus, Farmer served as a teacher, principal and school district superintendent for much of his career. He retired in the 1960s as a principal in the Riesel school district.

According to Calvin Smith, director of the Strecker Museum Complex and chair of the Department of Museum Studies at Baylor, this collection is the largest of its kind. Smith said most plants life forms are lost from the fossil record once they die because of decomposition and erosion, but some forms are preserved because the process of mineralization of the cells causes the plant to become petrified or fossilized.

A plant becomes petrified when minerals from its surrounding soil or water are deposited into the plant's cells when it dies.

For more information, contact Smith at 755-1110.

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