Inevitably, when I’m talking fossils, folks drop the name of their favorite. Do you have one? Just one?
My passion for fossils grew out of my love for playing in natural settings. I was one of those lucky kids who was NOT a “last child in the woods”. I grew up in a place and time where the creek just down the road between my house and the abandoned farm was the best playground through all the seasons.
The creek was where I began to notice, learn, and develop a passion for my favorite leaf-shape variations: the ones that signaled berries would arrive in a month or two and the ones to be avoided.
The creek was where I found my first rock treasures, filling my shelves with equal quantities of rocks and books. We stumbled across crazy shapes in the rocks, only to learn many years later, that these were the fossilized remains of ancient Ordovician and Silurian sea creatures. Most of our rocks contained common shapes: bryozoan, brachiopods, and crinoids. The trilobite, common during those geologic periods and which occupied my “favorite fossil’ status, but didn’t find its way into my personal collection for many years.
But then I discovered the gingko! A huge old tree graced the entry to my first Montessori school and captured my heart for its simple and unique fan-shaped leaves and stinky fruit. When I learned it was a “living fossil” whose origins went back as far as 270 million years, I was totally smitten! The ginkgo quickly rose to the top of my “favorite fossil” list. No big surprise that this special find at last year’s gem and fossil show had to come home with me!
Is there a trilobite, a gingko, or ???? in your life?