Original Research

Le bois petrifies de la plaine de la haute Rusizi (Burundi)

M. Reeksman
Bothalia | Vol 14, No 3/4 | a1192 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v14i3/4.1192 | © 1983 M. Reeksman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 November 1983 | Published: 06 November 1983

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Abstract

THE DISCOVERY OF PETRIFIED FOSSILS IN THE HIGH RUSIZI PLAIN (BURUNDI)

Palaeobotanical research in Central Africa is still very fragmentary. In Burundi, apart from the very classical and
abundant stromatolites of the Mosso (in the south of the country), Sah (1967) has indicated the occurrence of vegetal
debris in the fluviolacustrian sediments o f the mid-upper Rusizi plain. These fragments have never been identified,
but a study of the pollen grains found in sedimentary layers of the same age has revealed some features of the
vegetation and of the climate prevailing in the Upper Neogene period.

In November 1978 we discovered in north-western Burundi a deposit of petrified trunks of exceptional size. These
fossils had been exposed a short time previously when a small quarry was established. The deposit contained four
trunks, two of which were large: length, 1 m; diameter, 90 cm; weight, more than 1 000 kg.

Initial macro and submicrospic examination of fragments showed an anatomical structure similar to the structure
of some fossils described in Kivu (Zaire) and belonging to the family Caesalpiniaceae.
Samples were sent to Tervuren (R. Dechamps) and to Liêge (Mrs Demaret) and their joint studies revealed that
these trunks belong to the genus Julbernardia and probably to J. globiflora.  Their age would be about 1 200 000
years.

Since then, other trunks have been found (at least ten). According to our study, it is concluded that they have a
very different structure from those of the previous specimens. Samples were sent to Tervuren and to Liêge for further
study and the conclusions from the specialists should be available very soon.


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