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Darren Naish wrote:

>As no-one else picked up on this, I thought I might as well. The whole
>affair comes from a newspaper article published in the Illustrated
>London News on 9th Feb 1856 (p. 166).

>'A discovery of great scientific importance has just been made at
>Culmont (Haute Marne). Some men employed in cutting a tunnel which is to
>unite the St. Dizier and Nancy railways, had just thrown down an
>enormous block of stone by means of gunpowder, and were in the act of
>breaking it to pieces, when from a cavity in it they saw emerge a living
>being of monstrous form.


>This hoax follows reports of animals, mostly toads, supposedly found
>within sealed rocks. Whether or not any of these were authentic (a few
>might have been, but explanations put up over the years *can* explain
>them), they were certainly the inspiration here.

I had thought that the reason for the hoax was Franco-German one-upmanship.
The French were getting ticked off at all the great fossils that were
coming out a small German town and wanted to go one better. The German town
in question was Solnhofen.


cnedin@geology.adelaide.edu.au                  nedin@ediacara.org
Many say it was a mistake to come down from the trees, some say
the move out of the oceans was a bad idea. Me, I say the stiffening
of the notochord in the Cambrian was where it all went wrong,
it was all downhill from there.