Amongst Spiders, Bones and Ancient Shale – Fossils, Plant Impressions, Snails, Fish, Crocodile vertebra
On Friday, eve of The Lunar New Year and Year of the Rat, I visited the Queensland Museum and spent an excellent hour-and-a-half cruising the excellent “Spiders – The Exhibition” – which I strongly recommend even if you’re scared of these amazing (and yes, sometimes scary) creatures.
Then, as I’m apt to do when in the vicinity, I wandered amongst the bones of dinosaurs… And became very excited: right before me was a display of an element in my manuscript!
Just before I’d set off for Greece to experience the main setting for my tale which already robustly was on paper and swimming in my head, I’d read a small newspaper article that men working on foundations for a new traffic overpass drew up ancient shale still smelling of mangrove swamps from millions of years ago and containing fossils of limpets, snails, a vertebra of a crocodile (like the ones still roaming Australia’s northern backwaters, rivers and coastal seas).
In the different layers scientists could read climate changes, steamy hot to very cold, very hot again and how animals adapted allowing them to predict, extrapolate forwards, consider how we too may adapt.
Setting the scientists rethinking too was a tiny limb bone of a fossil frog, one of the oldest frog fossils ever found in Australia.
Can you imagine how excited I was to find a display (I’d not seen before) of those very things – except for the tiny limb bone of the frog. I wonder where it is now?
The following notes are from the Wall-Cards at Queensland Museum:
PLANT IMPRESSIONS (left of middle pic)
The sediments containing the fossils were deposited in a shallow lake. Oil shales are rich in organic compounds which are derived from algae and blue green bacteria. These filamentous plant impressions are probably from freshwater algae.
SNAIL (right of middle pic)
Freshwater snail shells are commonly found in the Geebung deposit. They are planorbid snails, which are air-breathers and are common in freshwater lakes.
FISH (left of end pic)
This skeleton is of a perch-like fish and shows a series of conjoined vertebrae and rib bones. The body of the fish sank to the bottom of the lake and was buried before it could be eaten.
CROCODILE (right of end pic)
This single vertebra of a fossil crocodile is partially exposed in the shale.
In the museum display, the vertebra of a modern saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is shown for comparison.
The Queensland Museum is a terrific place to visit – always with surprises for me!
Link: A Few Manuscript Reader Comments