Question about a green leaf!??! to Dr. Buckler

Posted: January 10, 2013 by Tina Duver in Ask our Expert!, Organic Findings, Pictures
Hi Dr. Buckler,

We have a question.  We found a GREEN piece of vegetation in the matrix – (we think).  It’s definitely dry, but it also has some color to it.  Is there any way at all that anything in the matrix could be green plant material?  It’s definitely a plant with little leaves.  We attached a picture.  Thank you for any advice on this.

Maeve, AnnMargaret and Nicole

Green leaf found in Matrix?
Dr. Buckler’s  Response:
Well, That’s Fun!
There is always a chance of some “fresh” material contamination.  We fill the buckets (5 gallon) at the site and try to cover them with lids as soon as possible, but things happen.  If something happened with the bucket that that sample came from —it was opened by accident, the top broke during transport, a big wind came up before it was covered, etc.–there will be notes to that effect on the records for that bucket.  This is yet another reason the number on that bag is so important; if we find something like this, or what may look like a new species not found in the Pleistocene before, etc, we need to immediately go to the records of the dig and make sure there was no “foul play” associated with that bucket, and thus, that sample.
That does look like fresh material – but it is difficult to tell without being there to see it.  If you smoosh it, can you tell if there is any moisture at all?  Chlorophyll (the green in the leaf) can last a long time, especially in woody plant leaves that are waxy, which this looks similar to.  But it is rare.
But there is certainly a chance of it happening – I am very excited to look at this when it comes back!  I’ve not seen anyone find something like this before!
Good Work!
Thank you so much
Carlyn S. Buckler, Ph.D.
  1. tduver says:

    Another note from Dr. Buckler:

    Hello Maeve, Nicole and AnnMagaret –

    You three are excellent, conscientious scientists!! I’m really looking forward to seeing what you have!

    Thank you so much,

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