This unusually large fossilized tree log piece dates back to the days of the dinosaurs and has been petrified in solid agate stone yet, retains anatomical splintered detail of when it was once wood. It was acquired from a very old private French collection of a former safari guide to the Tenere Region of the South Central Sahara Desert. This MUSEUM-CLASS RARITY was surface collected many decades ago amongst Super Croc and dinosaur fossil remains laying exposed in the Sahara of Niger. It is one of very few pieces we ever saw of its kind and one of only three specimens we saw in the gentleman's collection, all three we were fortunate enough to purchase. We have sold one of the logs and this is one of two that are left. The EXTREMELY RARITY of this specimen cannot be overstated! Such a large lifelike petrified log from this region is a true prize find. The South Central Sahara Desert used to be lush and green with forests, plains and swamps. In the recent past, a large human occupation site was discovered by paleontologist Sereno with his works published referencing the "The People of the Green Sahara". Early human prehistoric stone tools made of petrified wood like this, have been found that date from the Acheulian to the Neolithic Periods, in the region from where this fossil log was found. There are areas in the Sahara that show multiple petrified trees that are the remains of entire forests once alive in prehistory.
If you notice, the opposing sides of this fossil log have differing surfaces. One side of this log has heavy sand and gravel pieces that have actually become silicified to the surface of the log. On the other side, it almost looks melted with a dramatic glossy surface. This is a result of this petrified log laying exposed and undisturbed on the desert surface for millions of years as the blowing sands polished the exposed side, and the underside fusing to the grains of the desert below.
If you look closely at the color on the end of this log, you can recognize this same kind of stone in many Paleolithic stone tools of various prehistoric African cultures. Petrified wood was one of the prized materials that even primitive humans cherished in Stone Age tool-making!
With this MUSEUM-CLASS example, you have every desirable feature of petrified wood in natural form. Desert wind erosion has smoothed and polished some of the wood fiber surfaces to a glossy finish. Despite its lifelike appearance overall, this is an extremely heavy piece! Not only immensely rare, this is an amazingly intriguing display specimen, loaded with architectural aesthetics. How many petrified wood collections include a fossilized log from the Tenere Region of the Sahara Desert??? When will you ever see again for sale a major petrified log full of knots and with these features FROM THIS REGION OF THE WORLD!
Petrified wood in its natural form is MUCH LESS prevalent on the market compared to sliced and polished examples. Unfortunately, when such modifications are done to the specimen, the fossil value of the wood is lessened and the piece becomes more of a pretty mineral showpiece rather than an educational and intriguing display fossil because the natural interior and exterior appearance has been modified or in some cases, destroyed.
Petrified wood forms when real wood lies buried underground and its organic structure is gradually replaced with hard mineral. This petrification requires rapid burial of the wood to prevent normal decay. This can happen in different ways. A flooding river can have bury the forest floor under a layer of sand and silt, for example. Another circumstance could occur when forests are covered by volcanic ash. After burial, mineralized groundwater begins to percolate through the wood, coating cell walls and filling the intercellular cavities with stone. In some cases, the entire log is converted to stone and is solid like a cast of the original piece. In other cases, the delicate cellular structures are preserved along with growth rings, bark and knots such that the petrified wood exactly resembles modern wood yet is heavy as stone when held, and clinks like porcelain. Such detailed preservation is possible because the organic wood molecules become coated and surrounded with smaller silica molecules. Small amounts of impurities in the mineralized water add color to the fossilized wood. The hues of yellow, brown and red indicate iron while black and purple are derived from carbon or manganese.