‘Leonardo’ the dinosaur mummy to me is far more than just another dinosaur skeleton, albeit one with fossilised skin and gut contents…
Because Leonardo was preserved right at the junction of his life becoming death; His skin turning to stone, his guts to minerals, the fossil we call Leonardo captures an intimate mixing of geology and life. A rarely glimpsed moment captured beautifully for display, 77 million years later. We have many dinosaur remains, but few that catalyse our interest by showing ancient life so closely.
And while we tend to celebrate life’s birthing process, that of death and what happens afterwards is a process we tend to shun (except in Paleontology, that frankly, revels in it!) To see this process expressed in a large and interesting animal such as Leonardo is innately wondrous and inspiring thing.
Additionally his rare circumstances of preservation raise many questions. The Hows? and Whys? raised from observing Leonardo are many and complex. And his enigmatic features force us to look closer at what we don’t know as compared to what we do; a driving force for exploration and new knowledge.
Personally he started a development of my career from strict economic geology to broad aspects of paleontology, and in the process met many good friends and scientists. Some of whom are both! I am thrilled to have been involved with the Leonardo project to date, and look forward to seeing more aspects of his life and death brought to light.
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