Most academic papers are published and get most of their citations (if any) in the first five years. But, a few papers are published, go unnoticed for many years, and then get a surge of citations. These are called Sleeping Beauty papers.
Some papers have languished more than a century unnoticed, only to then get a surge of citation popularity.
The study doesn't mention the case of fractals, but something similar happened to that entire discipline. The papers making critical insights were published in obscure Russian journals by a lone investigator and then picked up many decades later to give birth to what is now a thriving subdiscipline within mathematics.