Monday, 4 March 2013
Stream in the Wicklow Mountains
I wanted to teach my daughter about the kind of things that inhabited the Creation before us -- especially the pre-dinosaur animals that even our natural histories so often neglect. So I made up games and cards about them, like Pokemon or Moshi Monsters, and now she is familiar with trilobites and opabina and wiwaxia as she would be any cartoon characters.
"I wish we had more of their fossils, and not just a few in museums," she said.
But we do, I said -- we just don't recognise them. I held up some limestone and told her that it was made by living things, probably from around the time those amazing animals lived. A lot of the limestone here was made by the coral reefs back then, and out of mountains of shells that fell to the dark seafloor. Only some of their fossils look like they did then, but they're still all around us. Almost everything in the world is made of fossils.
"Even us?" she asked.
Well, we're made of the food we ate, which is made of the soil, which was made from the rocks that used to be those animals, I said. They never left us -- nothing ever does.