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Re: opal

>Remember that opalised plesiosaur?

Which one? There are several known opalised plesiosaurs as well as
ichthyosaurs, dinosaurs and mammals (and, most importantliy, crocodiles
including and important little bugger Ralph Molnar and I ar working on at
the moment). Oh, and turtles, but they don't count.

>Can someone explain how it got opalised?

Opalisation is not a well understood process but appears to occur as
wholesale replacement of holes in the bedrock. If those holes are caused
bone or shell, that's how you get opal fossils. Although there are some
theories, opalisation requires silica being disolved n the groundwater but
silica is quite insoluble.

>The reason I ask is that I was wondering what should be done with my remains
>when I die...

I've also thought about having my remains left somewhere where they will
end up fossilised (although i hadn't thought of the extravagance of
opalisation). I figures the sure-fire way to do it would be to have my
carcass skeletonised by domestids then the skeleton encased in concrete
with a suitable plaque on the outside allerting palaeontologists of the
future to the find. I would also include a random set of bits and pieces as
grave goods (a plastic Simpson doll, preferably Homer, some pieces of Spice
Girls paraphinalia, a beer can or 6 (full), some religious bits and pieces
(a crusifix and a Star of David) and what ever else) just to confuse the
hyper intelligent cockroach that digs me up.



Dr Paul M.A. Willis
Consulting Vertebrate Palaeontologist
Quinkana Pty Ltd