Mikhail Zalessky

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Mikhail Zalessky
Born 15 September 1877
Died 22 December 1946
Citizenship Russian/Soviet Union
Scientific career
Fields Paleobotany

Mikhail Zalessky (Russian: Михаил Дмитриевич Залесский, Mikhail Dmitrievich Zalesskiy; 15 September 1877 – 22 December 1946) was a Russian paleontologist and paleobotanist. His main focus was an investigation of plant remains in coals and oil shales.[1]

In 1911, Zalessky described a new type of petrified wood from the Donets Basin in Ukraine. He called the wood Callixylon, though he did not find any structures other than the trunk. In the 1960s, it was demonstrated that the fossil wood known as Callixylon and the leaves known as Archaeopteris were actually part of the same plant.[2][3]

In 1917, he studied kukersite oil shale from Kukruse stage in Estonia. Correspondingly he named that particular oil shale after the German name of the Kukruse manor. Zalessky described oval bodies of kerogen in kukersite which by his conclusion were the remains of an extinct microorganism, which he called Gloeocapsamorpha prisca. This conclusion was criticized in the 1950s but later studies by using electron microscope confirmed Zalessky's observations.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b Aaloe, Aasa; Bauert, Heikki; Soesoo, Alvar (2007). "Kukersite oil shale" (PDF). Tallinn: MTÜ GEOGuide Baltoscandia. ISBN 978-9985-9834-2-3. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  2. ^ Beck, CB (1960). "The identity of Archaeopteris and Callixylon". Brittonia. 12 (4): 351–368. doi:10.2307/2805124. JSTOR 2805124. 
  3. ^ Beck, CB (1962). "Reconstruction of Archaeopteris and further consideration of its phylogenetic position". American Journal of Botany. 49 (4): 373–382. doi:10.2307/2439077. JSTOR 2439077. 
  4. ^ Lille, Ü (2003). "Current knowledge on the origin and structure of Estonian kukersite kerogen" (PDF). Oil Shale. A Scientific-Technical Journal. Estonian Academy Publishers. 20 (3): 253–263. ISSN 0208-189X. Retrieved 2007-10-20.