White spruce fossils from along the Gulf Coast seemed to contradict this view. The cones were twice the length of modern white spruce cones, and the wood was “peculiar,” the growth rings unusually narrow. But the Delcourts didn’t pursue the question, and the spruce fossils’ true identity remained a mystery. Earlier botanists had assumed that the fossils were white spruce, because that was the modern spruce that the cones most resembled. The reason that white spruce fossils seemed to contradict their settings was because they did — the fossils weren’t white spruce.