This is the third part in a series of posts describing a recent visit to two of northern Kentucky's attractions: the Creation Museum and the Ordovician fossil beds. Part 1 outlined my perspective on the science and religion debates. Part 2 narrated a span of 3 hours when I visited both the Creation Museum and the birthplace of American vertebrate paleontology. Part 3 offers the conclusion to my journey: an exercise in unearthing truth. If you have stuck with me this far, you don't have to worry about verbosity in this entry. This one is mostly pictures.
After finishing my conference in Lexington at noon, I had three hours to make the 80 minute drive to the airport. That left a little bit of flex time to following up on a rock hound's tip from a few days previous. There was a new Wal-Mart in Fort Wright, KY that was built into the side of one of the areas river hills. The naturalist at Big Bone Lick State Park told me that folks had been finding trilobites over there. Given that the store is 10 miles from the airport (CVG), I hedged my bets that I could find something good if I sought out that beacon of American consumption. I was hoping for something like I bought as a 10 year old from the Field Museum of Natural History. I wasn't disappointed with the 45 minutes I spent scrambling over clay-slickened rocks behind the bargain center's loading dock. Here are some pictures of my specimens, and my attempt at identifying the items. More knowledgable readers are welcome to correct me! The trilobite in the center is about as big as a nickle.
Clockwise from the top are: monticule ornamented bryozoan coral, conglomerate crinoid slab, fossil coral stem, trilobite, individual crinoid stem, brachiopod (perhaps Rafinesquina), Hebertella brachiopod, and in the center another trilobite.
I had to pick and choose from numerous slabs like this one. Packed into this 7 inch piece are numerous intricate details of organisms from the large inland sea that covered much of middle America in the Ordovician Period.
In under an hour, I had unearthed ample evidence of life extinct for more than 500 million years. I could have stayed there for hours (although it would have been nice to dig with someone who knew what he or she was doing!) As if to remind me to head to the airport, the sky opened up with one of those Midwestern thunderstorms I have grown to miss since moving to Seattle (land of perpetual mist). I got quite a bath running back to my car. Perhaps that was God's way of baptizing me in the truth of an Earth formed billions of years ago.