Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Squid Ink Still Good After 150,000,000 Years

"Scientists draw ancient squid using its own 150 million-year-old ink"
Mother Nature Network (Aug 26 2009)

"Fossilized remains of squid were so well-preserved that scientists were able to draw a picture of it -- using its own ink.

"An ancient squid was so remarkably well-preserved, that scientists were able to draw a picture of it using its own 150 million-year-old ink. The remains of a Belemnotheutis antiquus were found by paleontologists during a dig in Wiltshire, England, when they cracked open what looked like an ordinary rock...."

The ink sac was dry and powdery. But when mixed with ammonia, the ink was good enough for a drawing of the creature. Aside from the gimmick of using the ink for some artwork, there's quite a lot that can be learned when the soft parts of a creature are preserved.

And, it's a cool picture.

Quite a few squids like this one died in that area, and scientists aren't quite sure why. Assuming that dinosaurs weren't dumping toxic waste, one of the leading ideas is that toxins from algae did the critters in.

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