Stopping by the Bois D’Arc Knap-in recently I got to see some remarkable works of art and a few natural wonders as well. My friend Regan showed my a little treat he discovered in a Burlington Chert core he was reducing to make some stone tools. There was obviously a band of crystals crossing the stone but little did he know that while removing this imperfection he would find a real gem inside. A Mississippian-age brachiopod was hidden inside for 325,000,000+ years! This makes him the first mammal to ever see it. I enjoy that kind of perspective on the universe as we sometimes forget the significance of the little things.
Here’s a little more information about this sort of life-form from the Illinois State Geological Survey: