Fossils.Posted: October 9, 2009
On my recent work trip to St. George I made a stop at The Johnson Farm Dinosaur Discovery Site, which claims to be one of the top ten dinosaur fossil sites on the planet. In fact, they have one of the world’s only dinosaur butt prints!
I couldn’t help posing next to it:
I was struck by the commonality of the novelties housed by this world-renowned museum:
- a leaf and a feather fell in the mud
- some tad-poles made some nests in the mud
- a small meat-eating coelophysoid dinosaur slipped in the mud
- some dinosaurs scraped their toes on the mud as they swam through water (this is the rarest of all discoveries at this particular site).
- raindrops fell on the mud
- dinos walked across the mud
- …and so did a larval dragonfly
- and, my favorite– some slime formed on the bottom of the mud. (NOTE- this is not just any slime. These stromatolite formations were created by 3.5 billion year old cyanobacteria–the first life-form on earth capable of producing oxygen. We owe a lot to them. I would pay $6 again just to see them).
These musings on mud make me think of some words of Annie Dillard in Teaching a Stone to Talk:
“And the rocks themselves shall be moved. The rocks themselves are not pure necessity, given, like vast, complex molds around which the rest of us swirl. They heave to their own necessities, to stirrings and prickings from within and without.
“So the rocks shape life, and then life shapes life, and the rocks are moving. The complete picture needs one more element: life shapes the rocks.
“Life is more than a live green scum on a dead pool, a shimmering scurf like slime mold on rock. Look at the planet. Everywhere freedom twines its way around necessity, inventing new strings of occasions, lassoing time and putting it through its varied and spirited paces. Everywhere live things lash at the rocks” (p.127).