ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Fossil Story

Updated on January 8, 2016

On a recent trip to the local Goodwill in search of neglected treasures, Sandy found a bag of 11 fossils, each packaged separately with an identification card. It was an amazing find. Included were a fossil fish (Gosiutichthys, 40 million years old), a trilobite (Elrathia Kingi, 550 million years old), a shark tooth (Miocene Period), fossil brachiopods (325 million years old), and a small fossil dinosaur bone (Jurassic period, 150 million years old). Since we were fishing these out of the bottom of the bins at the outlet store at the end of the day, it was highly probable that (had we not saved them) they would have ended up in a dumpster with all of the other junk that did not sell. The irony of this struck me. Half a billion years ago, a Washington-quarter-size trilobite lives a simple life, then dies and is covered by sediment in an area we now call Utah. Its body becomes fossilized and remains hidden for 550 million years. Geological transformations thrust it to the surface, then a fossil hunter stumbles across it, extracts and cleans it, packages and sells it. It is purchased and taken home, admired, and stored away for a few years in a shoebox on the top shelf of a closet. Then, under circumstances which we will never know, this treasure is discarded - given to a local charity. It sits for sale in the thrift store, but no one is interested. It is considered unremarkable, sitting on the display shelf not too far from the bright green discount shoes, the rap CDs, the hair dryers made in China, the kitty print chemises made in Indonesia, and the big-eye art prints. After a few months an unenlightened and impatient employee sends it to the thrift store graveyard (the outlet store). Again it sits neglected. It shuffles to the bottom of the bin, buried again (this time briefly) by an ugly vacuum cleaner, a filthy child's toy, a broken bottle of shampoo, a stained Calvin Klein bag. Bratz dolls, with grossly oversized eyes, stare blankly at their neighbor the trilobite. Barbie, naked and with ratted hair, lies nearby, equally catatonic. Then, late in the day, a weary shopper digs to the bottom of the bin in search of the small remaining treasures. Barbie is shoved aside and the trilobite is again unearthed, along with a few other fossils which were also recently buried Utah, Wyoming, and California. And what if this weary shopper had missed them, glanced instead at the marbles nearby or the (ironically) small plastic toy dinosaurs? Closing time would have come, the bins and their neglected contents would be rolled into the back warehouse. The following morning the bins would be emptied into a large dumpster - the beginning of the end. Inevitably, the local garbage carrier would come, empty the dumpster into a truck and transport it to a landfill. There, somewhere in the immense pile, the tiny fossils would find themselves back underground. Compacted, in close proximity to the broken vacuum cleaner, the 8-track tape, the naked Barbie, the water-stained diet book, and the precious stuffed toy dog, the fossils would settle into their new place of rest. Unlikely to be disturbed for many years, they would remain in this perverse new environment - a graveyard of overproduction and mass consumption. And for how long? For another 500 million years? Let's just say that it is, indeed, another half-billion years before geological forces once again force the trilobite fossil to the bright surface. Since the death of the small animal, it has remained underground for a billion years. A thousand million years of darkness. Except for a few years when it was briefly resurrected in the 1990s. Yet that time of air and light was brief. A mere fraction of a second in that billion year period. Yet, because a woman with an eye for treasure saved it from its fate, it has a more hopeful future...

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)