lands before time

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I’ve returned from my brief trip through time to the Pleistocene–I mean, my birthday week hiatus! You’d be forgiven, though, if these photos did give you the impression that I’d popped back a few aeons.

I’m still yearning for those lovely mid-June days spent with the dearest companion, but I’m consoling myself by reliving our trip to a local natural history museum. These archaic bones and stone impressions comfort me: at least our time apart will be nothing more than the smallest blip on a geologic scale!

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I have a strong and unusual fascination with paleontological illustration: I may be an art historian, but nothing gets me more excited that the softly sepia-toned prehistoric landscapes of natural history museum backdrops. If only Western Mass still boasted those warm seas and long-extinct reptiles! (Well, maybe not the reptiles.)

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Trapped like a fairy skeleton encased in stone is my personal favorite prehistoric friend, Archaeopteryx! Look at the delicate curvature of those wing impressions.

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Some things never change, though: can you recognize these sand dollars from times long forgotten? They’re not too different from the contemporary examples I keep in my cabinet of curiosities!

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Nor are these sea urchin spines from the distant past too far removed from their Holocene equivalents.

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Most striking, though, was a veritable library of fossil impressions and footprints, lining the walls with fragments of wayward creatures’ trails preserved forever by chance.

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Whose footprints will take their place in another few million years?

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