Tag Archives: Lagerstätte

Installations: “Lagerstätte”

It’s been a long roundabout trip over the last few months, but the future palaeontology-themed enclosure “Lagerstätte” arrived at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas on Sunday, where it will have a long and successful life introducing Heard visitors to Nepenthes pitcher plants. This, of course, is only the start of the fun: to offer context, the Heard also gets a poster explaining the difference between the different plants commonly called “pitcher plants,” as soon as I have it finished. Even without the context, the new enclosure was already a hit among a crowd of visitors arriving early that day, and it may have to be part of a series. (Researching future fossils and what little would remain of our civilization 50 million years from now leads to a lot of intriguing ideas for future enclosures and arrangements, and those are all burning holes in my brain in their attempts to escape. Such is the life of an artist.)

For those unfamiliar with the Heard, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, and offers both indoor exhibits and activities and a series of trails through its wildlife sanctuary. I may be particularly biased, though: the Dinosaurs Live! outdoor tour is something I’ve wanted to visit for years, and now setting aside time to visit is a priority.

Enclosures: “Lagerstätte” (2021)

Incoming: Report from the Archaeologist Guild, 91198312-1145

Abstract: Description of a uniquely preserved fossil bed dating approximately 65 million years before the present

Details: While the fact that our planet once had an extensive civilization across all major landmasses has been established for at least 60 years, that civilization is still poorly understood. Due to extensive chemical weathering of the surface, the traces of what is commonly referred to as “Civilization Q” consist predominately of metal oxides and a layer of microplastics found on the same bedding horizon in both land and ocean tectonic plates and cratons. This has changed significantly with the discovery of a large fossil bed found at coordinates (redacted), dated to within twenty years of the most recent microplastics deposits known. The bed preserves significant examples of noncontemporary plastics, glasses, and metals, including the earliest known examples of silicones, exceptionally well-preserved iron and aluminum alloys, and traces of artificially produced radioisotopes including uranium, cesium, and plutonium. Most surprisingly, the deposit includes both preserved machine components and structural frameworks of now-extinct organic forms, both sessile and motile examples, preserved either as impression molds or as silica replacement of empty molds.

The main deposit is one slab, detached from a higher layer on cliffs at (redacted), which appears to be a sudden accumulation of materials from a sudden event such as a flood or avalanche. The majority of the fossils in this slab are relatively unweathered plastics, mostly nylon and polyethylenes, but a significant number of unweathered metals including copper, gold, iron, aluminum, tungsten, and neodymium-boron composites. Glasses are relatively rare but exist both as shaped and amorphous pieces. Most of the fossils are disassociated forms, but some show examples of early articulation and control structures, as well as traces of power systems. Reconstruction of the original forms is necessarily speculative due to extensive damage to structures before preservation, but some structures suggest final constructs of extensive size, something that was not suspected previously at such an early stage.

The blend of synthetic and organic fossils was also surprising: most fossil beds from that general time period are comprised completely of organic forms. Most interestingly, strata immediately above this bed preserve examples of early machines dating to shortly after both sessile and motile organic forms had become extinct, and no examples of organic forms are known in more recent fossil beds. This site may possibly not only include information on Civilization Q, but on the early evolution and development of mechanical and electronic life on this planet, including our own. Our only hope for more clarification on our early history comes from finding more sites such as this, as rare as they may be.

Dimensions (width/height/depth): 18″ x 36″ x 18″ (45.72 cm x 91.44 cm x 45.72 cm)

Plant: Nepenthes ventricosa

Construction: Glass enclosure. polystyrene foam, found items.

Price: Commission

Shirt Price: Commission