What Do These Objects Have in Common?
Our collections showcase the staggering variety of the natural world, but they also expose links between seemingly unrelated objects. Most of these items are from the Objects of Wonder exhibit.
The objects in this collection look nothing alike, and they formed in different ways, yet they are all made mostly of silica, or SiO2. This chemical compound is so common, you’ll find it in quartz crystals, plant cells, marine organisms, and glass.
Genus indet. sp indet.
Place and Date: Oregon, 45–43 million years ago, Eocene
Description: From the outside, these fossil nuts look like they just fell fresh off a tree. But crack them open and you’ll find glittering geodes. The nuts were buried in volcanic ash rich in silica, which seeped into the shells, preserving the original cell walls and forming crystals in the empty interiors.
Catalog Number: PAL354721 (view complete catalog record)
Taxonomy: Plantae, Juglandaceae
Where to See It: This object is part of the Objects of Wonder exhibit at the museum.