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The fossil that the late Austrian geologist Eduard Suess (1831-1914) discovered that helped prove his theory of continental drift was from a fern that dated to the Carbonisferous period, and was labeled Glossopteris. Suess’s research turned up samples of this particular fossil in Australia, South America, South Africa, and India. The common characteristics of the samples of Glossopteris found in each location convinced him that they had to have once been part of a common landmass, which he called Gondwanaland. Seuss’s research and analysis contributed greatly to the work of Alfred Wegener (1880-1930), whose The Origins of Continents and Oceans remains a classic of geological studies. Wegener’s book, published soon after Seuss’s death, provided the most solid scientific foundation for their theories.
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