Saturday, July 9, 2016
Saturday fun activity: Where IS this?
When I was in junior high school, I was a member of the Roehm Junior High School fossil club, that had wonderful golden yellow sweatshirts emblazoned with one of these friendly fellows and the slogan, "Friends of the Trilobite." We would go fossil hunting at the shale fields in Sylvania, Ohio. I never found one—I remember digging up a pathetic fragment, that's it. As an adult, I broke down and bought one, which seemed a kind of surrender.
I'm not sure of the allure. I imagine I thought they looked cool. I certainly was very proud of my Estwing fossil hammer.
Trilobites—the great, great, great-great-great (add a few hundred more "greats" here and you'll still fall short) grandfather of horseshoe crabs. They scooted around the bottom of the sea starting about 500 million years ago, in the Pre-Cambrian era, and not petering out until the mass extinction at the end of the Permian. So humanity is going to have to do a lot better if we hope to touch their record.
What was their secret? Difficult to say. I'd guess at no religion or weapons, but can't be certain. There are without question 17,000 known species of trilobites, so they were working the diversity thing, big time. Something we might want to think about. Organisms with only a single variety tend not to endure, and I don't mean that as a slam at ginkgo biloba trees, which as you know is alone in its own division, class, genus, order and species, yes somehow managed to hang around for the past 270 million years (going back coincidentally, to the time of the trilobites).
But enough paleontology. I'll draw your attention to the tableau below.
Where is this singular place? A bit off the beaten track, but maybe you've been there. I'll give you a hint: it's not in a museum, meaning those of you who guess, "Field Museum" will out yourselves for not reading thoroughly (or out me for having bored you with all this trilobite crap).
Place your guesses below. The winner, as always, gets one of my blog posters—I'll let you chose the year. Please don't guess if you're already been successful before, Tate. Good luck.