Amazing Fossil

13 May 2021

This fossil is really amazing, if the reconstruction of what occurred is correct. How do uniformitarians cope with it - see ... well, they cope by saying the remains sunk to the sea bed where they were buried in sediments. In other words, the immediacy of the fossilisation process is compromised. What we have is one creature in the process of being eaten by another when the latter had a big chunk bitten out of it by a third party, a predator such as a shark.

It is not usual to find fossils of animals that are interesting solely because of what was happening at the point of death. It  does happen of course but normally fossils are of animals alone, sometimes displaying evidence of death throes. These incidents are not surprising from a catastrophist point of view, as they were overwhelmed by natural forces, whatever they might have been doing, swimming quietly or feeding on one another. Here we have a remarkable set of events that represent a sort of image in stone of how sudden catastrophic incidents can be. It was found in a quarry in Germany by an amateur fossil hunter several years ago and only came into the hands of paleontologists somewhat later. They were intrigued by what seemed to be going on and brought all their techy apparatus out to research it still further. Otherwise the fossil would have gone unnoticed by science, passed from one amateur collection to another. The fossil, it is reparted, was still embedded in sediments. As it was a quarry where it was found we may assume it was not the bottom of the sea - although that is not impossible. The sediment therefore could be the dregs of a tsunami wave throwing marine life on to the continental location. One of the parties was a belemnite, a fossil common to the Oxford Clay geology of southern England. It is full of marine life, of various kinds, but it is assumed this clay was at the bottom of the sea, once again. One might also wonder if a tsunami wave was involved - back in the Jurassic. Who knows. Clays are usually deposited by water - but clays are not usually found on the bottom of the sea [unless it has been assumed by geologists that is the only way they could have been laid down]. The Oxford clay in some places is extremely thick - many feet. You can get an idea of this by walking some of the byways of Oxfordshire just after a farmer has ploughed the fields. The clay is really very deep. Extremely so. Would a sea bed situation be like that - and we are talking about clay with inclusions but a pretty pristine sort of geological layer. In the 20th century the Oxford clay was used to make bricks. The deposit sweeps right across a large part of southern England, from East Anglia and Bedfordshire to Oxfordshire and beyond. The Oxford Clay was even mined for coprolites - dinosaur droppings. One has to wonder how coprolites dropped to the bottom of a sea.

We have a crustacean, distantly related to lobsters, in the process of being devoured by a belemnite, a member of the squid family. However, the squid itself had a massive bite taken out of it by a large predator such as a shark. Whilst it was in the process of eating its lobster meal a shark swam by and took a munch from the soft parts of the squid. Belemnite fossils are just the shell of the creature, and are commonly found by fossil hunters. The soft parts are rarely preserved but in this instance they were, otherwise the paleontologists would not have known a bite had been taken. Whatever overtook the lobster and the squid it occurred suddenly and they were presumably buried and fossilised in sediments in the aftermath. Just like that. The interesting thing here is that in the 20th century paleontologists may not have bothered to apply more rigorous research on the fossil and it would have simply been defined as an animal that had died and fell on the sea bed where eventually it would have been fossilised. Uniformitarianism ruled the waves.