Wednesday, October 02, 2013

First fossil

When I was about 7 I found a perfect Ammonite fossil, about 3 inches across. I found it half buried in some mud in a river bank.Due to some malfeasance on behalf of an ex-girlfriend I don’t have it today (she borrowed it to put in her fish tank and never gave it back) but it was one of the things that inspired me to choose a career in science.

I often wonder about that fossil.  The only explanation for it’s location is that someone dropped it there. But this was not a place likely to be visited by many people. It was where I went to be alone, very much in the middle of nowhere, 20 minutes walk from any building across fields and rough ground. The chances of my sitting in that exact spot and putting my hand on a piece of stone and deciding to dig it out are surely astronomical. And yet there it was.

The fossil and the coincidence both impressed me and this was about the time I started to get seriously into pop-sci books.  It’s fun to think that if that fleeting astronomical coincidence hadn’t happened, my life might have been completely different.

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