Jurassic fossil was kept hidden by a family's Victorian ancestors

This was a neat article about a fossil find in Britain that was kept within a family for many years.


I especially found this quote interesting:

“You have to remember that fossils weren’t really explained until Darwin came along.
Up until then, if you believed in fossils you were denying the Bible saying God created Day One, and so on.”

I wish he’d elaborated a bit more on the specifics, but it sounds like, (at this time/place and to these people) rather than being seen as the enemy of God, Darwin’s work helped to clear things up for the intersection of science and religion.

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Interesting article, and while following it, I came across this blog which seems to help clarify things. The blog is one I was not familiar with, but has some other interesting topics, so will be in my bookmarks:

In it, the author states that there was no such problem with fossils by most in the church (though I suppose the family involved could have belonged to one of the few that did have a problem.). In any case it seems to me that the story was exaggerated to get a bit more clicks and to sell more cider. I like cider, so perhaps that is not altogether bad.
In any case, it is a beautiful fossil. It would be a thrill to find something like that.

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Thanks for the clarification – I wouldn’t expect Julian’s comments to be representative of most people, or Christians, at the time, but figured he knew something or other about why his ancestors believed what they believed – but it’s possible he doesn’t and is just making broad assumptions. It just seemed odd to me that Darwin would have been viewed in a positive light.

I wouldn’t mind finding something like that either. Too bad my state doesn’t have a Jurassic coast.

It does make you wonder why they buried it, so there may have been some religious aspect of it. I would not totally write that off. Perhaps also they did not want the publicity which might affect their quarry business. Interesting to consider, and like most things may not have been a simple answer to the question of why.

I thought I had some old skeletons in the family closet!


Well at least Darwins work was seen as an example of teleology in nature (Aristotelian, not Paleyian, of course). I´d recognize that as an important contribution.

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What is the deal with the artist’s rendition of an ichthyosaur walking on land in the linked article? My impression, and it seems to be confirmed if I read Wikipedia correctly, was that it was an entirely aquatic animal, presumably descended from a land dwelling reptile?

Anyone with more knowledge clarify?

I’m not knowledgeable, but I found this NY Times article about some that had larger flippers. I imagine they would have been clumsy on land, maybe like a seal or walrus.