The Ink Is Still Wet

I got quite a surprise reading about the squid ink found in a fossil in Wiltshire, England.  Not so much surprised that ink was found in a fossil, but more that the scientists knew about the site, and that it had been known about since the 1840s as a site that had yielded “thousands of fossils with soft parts preserved”:

“Dr Wilby said: “We were trying to find the site of a dig which took place in the 1840s, where we knew fossils were found with their soft parts preserved. We had the name of the village and knew it was next to the Victorian Great Western Railway.”

It is shocking that knowledge of the site had been kept quiet for so long.  But then, after all, why would scientists want to make public a source of evidence that so mocks the idea of billions of years?  Mary Schweitzer’s discovery of soft tissue in the center of a large dinosaur bone pales in comparison to thousands of fossils where the ink is still ink, and the tissues are so fresh that:

“I can dissect them as if they are living animals. You can even tell whether it was a fast or slow swimmer, by looking at all the muscle fibres.”

Dr. Wilby was amazed that such a site existed, given that the ink was preserved for 150,000,000 imaginary years:

“The odds of this find are easily a billion to one and probably much greater.”

Apparently the odds would be far greater than that, for in a comment to a blog in 2007 the Wilshire Geology Group reports that:

“The teuthids occur in the Athleta Zone of the Peterborough Member and were first discovered in the
famous ‘borrow-pits’ exposures by the railway at Christian Malford, then subsequently at Trowbridge and elsewhere.”

Trowbridge and elsewhere?!!!   So there are at least two more of these sites whose odds of existing are a billion to one.  One wonders how many others there are.

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