The life that lies within

in #life3 years ago (edited)


Nothing to see here but a big pile of rocks, right?

Well... at first glance, yes.

But if you take a second to look a little closer, you may realize that each and every one of these boring old rocks is in fact much more than that. Each one has a story to tell. The story of the animals, plants, and all living organisms which swam, walked, and thrived on the Earth hundreds of million of years ago.

The story of Fossils

Fossils are a testimony from which we are able to understand the evolution of life on Earth.

For decades now, my family and I have been walking the grounds of our little village in Burgundy France, collecting these ancient treasures here and there. It helps that my dad is a retired geologist and my older brother knows just about anything a history book can teach you. These 2 elements combined have made for some epic treasure hunting sessions.

Circled area where the fossils were found

The rocky soil of a vineyard

The problem with looking for fossils, for an amateur like me, is that I do not have the tools nor the proper skills/training to find them. It is important to know what you are searching for in order to properly adjust your vision to successfully pinpoint and differentiate a simple rock from a fossilized one. At first, just about anything I picked up was a precious treasure (and in some ways, it kind of is...but that's another story).

"Even when one has a good internal radar, the search is incredibly more difficult than it sounds. Not only are fossils often the same color as the rocks among which they are found, blending in with their background; they are also usually broken into odd-shaped fragments." - Richard E. Leaky

Luckily, my parents live in an area where vineyards are abundant. And vineyards are some of the best places amateurs can look for fossils.

Why you ask? 2 main reasons:

  • vineyards are most often planted on rocky soil (rocks = fossils)
  • this soil is flipped over by tractors on a regular basis, bringing a few of the deeper sediments back up to the surface.

The fact that a lot of the same fossils are often found is because rocks are stacked in layers with the oldest fossils at the deepest layers, and the youngest, or most recent fossils, near the top. As such, rock layers play the role of vertical timelines.

So the deeper we dig, the farther back in time we see

The rock sedimentation of the area we are about to explore dates from the Cretaceous and Jurassic period (between 200 to 65 million years ago), a time when the sea covered almost all of the Burgundian region. The climate here 175 million years ago (give or take a few years😉) would have been hot, similar to the one of the Bahamas today, with lagoons harbouring an abundance of marine life.

Fossils found in this area:





This huge Ammonite tells a funny little story. When my parents began to renovate the stable of their old farmhouse a few years ago, they also decided to dig into the floor in order to level it out with the rest of the garden grounds.

Within the rocks used to create the old floor, they found this giant ammonite of approximately 40 cm diameter, just laying there, amongst piles of other common rocks.

Happy to have found such a beautiful piece of history, my mom placed it in her garden, giving it yet another "life" amongst the flowers and plants.


Did the previous inhabitants who obviously placed it there do this for a reason? Was it a form of blessing for the new construction to be built? Or was this massive ammonite just another piece of rock placed here to fill in the gaps as quickly as possible?


The 2 ammonites you see at the top of the photo are molds or prints, the 2 at the bottom are the actual fossilized animals.

Ammonites were predatory mollusks that resembled squid. These cephalopods had eyes, tentacles, and spiral shells. They are more closely related to a living octopus, though the shells resemble that of a nautilus. source


These bullet-shaped fossils (above) are called Belemnites - they are an extinct group of squid-like cephalopods which lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Belemnites had 10 arms which, unlike today's squids, were made up only of creepy small hooks instead of suckers.

Funny how they slowly began to develop such a technically complex and unique weapon as suction.
Both can be used as a hunting tool but why not keep the first one? Is it a question of choosing a defensive weapon (suckers) over an offensive one (hooks)? Less energy spent perhaps?
I can't help but wonder why a few of our bigger species of squids still have both.


Crinoids (above) are beautiful marine animals which bizarrely enough look much more like plants than animals. They are some of the earliest animals recorded to this day. Crinoids have managed to survive and evolve through several global climate changes and mass extinctions. They belong to the same family as urchins and starfish.

Here is what they look like today, in their natural habitat:




Lamellibranch or bivalves are a type of mollusc resembling much of today's clams, mussels, and scallops.

The oldest fossil of its kind dates as far back as 530 million years ago. That's a lot of years!

The bivalve below (right side) called Gryphaea is also known as the Devil's Toenail, perhaps because the Devil has goat's feet and they look like horns, or perhaps the Devil just really needs a pedicure.


3 small bivalves

Gryphaea - most commonly found fossil in the area


Echinoids or Sea Urchins, as seen above, are common fossils found within the Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks of Burgundy.


I've been trying to figure out what this one is but have no idea. If any of you know or want to take a wild guess, I'm all ears.


And here is a photo of a fossilized dinosaur poop. Or at least that's what it looks like to me (similar "plop" formation to cow dung, for all you connoisseurs out there).


The following fossils were found by my dad, in other parts of the world. I'm adding them in the post to show you the wider variety of fossils found around the Earth.


Orthoceras fossil found in China (mollusk that lived more than 400 million years ago)


Fossilized mold of a leaf found in Nevada, USA. Does anyone recognize the plant?

Petrified wood.jpg

Petrified wood bought (not found, that's illegal!) in Arizona, USA.


Trilobite found in Canada.

Trilobites proliferated and thrived throughout the Paleozoic world, comprising one of the earliest known groups of arthropods. They are probably most closely related to modern horseshoe crabs.



"As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long-extinct species, we are reminded of our mortality as a species. There is no law that declares the human animal to be different, as seen in this broad biological perspective, from any other animal. There is no law that declares the human species to be immortal.”
― Richard E. Leakey


So the next time you go for a walk in the countryside, follow the path of an old canyon, or sit by the river banks, take a few minutes to look down at your feet - you may be surprised to find that what you are stepping on tells a story far greater than you could ever imagine.


All photos in this post were taken by me unless otherwise stated.

Don't hesitate to leave comments, ask questions, and share ideas - I love to hear from all of you.

To view some of my previous posts, click on the links below:

Microcosmos: INSECTS

Patterns and designs in nature - FLOWERS

Patterns and designs in nature - LEAVES

The story of an old well and its secrets 2

“Learning is not a race for information, it is a walk of discovery” - Jane Healy

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This is a delightful engaging post! I love ammolite! What a find your parents had! That's so cool! Especially that your dad is a geologist! That trilobite is super cool too!! I'd love to find one of those!!! Where in Canada did you come accross it? Very cool! Love this stuff 💖

Thanks for the very enthusiastic reply!
My dad found the trilobite somewhere in Canada. We lived in Saskatchewan but I doubt it was there. I'll ask him and get back to you on that. Cheers :)

What an remarkable article full of information on one of the most valuable evidences of evolution and geographical history of the earth! These Ammonite fossils, found in the Himalayas, were the reason that scientists could confirmed that once there was a big sea between Indian and Eurasian plats, that ultimately give birth to the Himalaya. Kudos to you.

Thank you! Happy you enjoyed reading @akdx.
Had no idea about the Ammonites found in the Himalayas. Off to read more about it😊

Very nice post full of useful information. I collect some crystals, ammonites and petrified wood!
These are very beautiful.

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Hey, @osm0sis Welcome Back Dear!!
Your photo shot is simply amazing.and this is great post.thanks for share....

welcome dear :)

An excellent article. Fossils are often very difficult to detect.

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There is an abundance of information here.
You are so lucky to have family that knows about fossils and rocks.
Your mother did a beautiful job with that ammonite.

Collecting rocks and fossils is fun.
reteemed ..thanks for posting this .. you have a new follower also. Wait I checked I am already following still early.

Haha! Thanks @rebeccabe. Glad you liked the post. It really is a lot of fun to find all these treasures.
Just saw your last post about energies. Following you too :)

thank you .. I am honored

Powerful phossils and fotography!
I nominated you for Comedy Open Mic Round #15 in my last post; I think you'll have lots of fun with it 😊

Phanks dude!
Oh crap. I suck at nomination posts.
Let's see..

Cow dung are flatter?? Am agreeing to the need for pedicure😂🤣😁
I hope you won't be teaching those😙😗

Good eye on the cow poo being flatter, fellow cow poo expert.
Perhaps the cow's drops from a higher point, hence the flatter patties? Different diet also... too many veggies makes for more liquid poops? I'm liking this new investigation.

Must be the vegetarian diet vs the carnivorous one producing a type 1 poo for our, is it a dinosour? I conclude that even if it was lying down, it was still a high point compared to that of a cow😂🤣😁😃😅🤣😂
Seriously xoxo

Can animals poop lying down? Hhhmmmm... this calls for investigation number 2 (see what i did there? i did that on purpose. its genius)

I concur I concur but they do get old, don't they?
Seriously we need a life lolsss

Poops get old yes. And fossilize.
No time to lolssss my dear Imma...This is a topic of the utmost importance. We are solving the riddles of life. Humanity needs us.

Riddles of life, the universe and pigs will fly!

They might... Investigation #3?

@ osm0sis, Very interesting collection of fossils, in my explorations I always find fossils but I think it is better to leave them in their place... I love fossils, belemnoids seem to me of the most interesting, this publication is very good... I like it too much!

Thanks Carlos.
We're lucky to have our Burgundian grounds filled with gryphaea, belemnoids and ammonites so it isn't such a big deal if we bring home a few. But I understand you wanting to leave them in their place.
In which country do you go exploring for fossils?

Wow good I'm glad you live in a magical place! I live in Venezuela and in the Eastern region, Sucre state Cumana, this region is full of marine fossils and mega fauna Mammals (Megatherium) it is very interesting that in many places marine fossils with mammals are mixed... to very intense earthquakes and the sea mixed with the earth!

Megatheriums!! The giant bear/hamster/beaver-looking monster?! I remember seeing a show on those. You better send a photo if you find its fossil or any other similar mastodon.

Crazy to know earthquakes are this powerful... creating such a mess in the sedimentary rock layers😧 Damn tectonic plates!

The Megatherium is more related to the sloths (Folivora) the Region where I live is very seismic we have tremors of earth all the time .. yesterday I tremble very strong, also there have been many earthquakes!1759_20140722000059674303127.jpg

Oh sloth, yes. HUGE!!! I wouldn't want to see one face to face.
Take care with the earthquakes. I've been in 3 big ones in California, Japan, and Nepal and these are some of the scariest moments I've lived. They make you feel so incredibly powerless against the great Pachamama.
Stay safe

In this post I have three fossil photographs in place where I found them!

What a wonderful article.

Hmmm, there are loads of wine farms in our vicinity and you just gave me some new exploration ideas :)

Thanks @therneau.

Perfecto! Hope you find lots of treasures. And if you do, please send some photos or make a post. I'd love to see what South Africa's geology looks like.

Sure thing will do.

We go to the beach here quite often where we find fossilized shark teeth, vertebrae and some whale eardrums but this will keep my eyes peeled when we go to some wine farms too :)

Cool! I'd love to see what those look like as well. Whale eardrums... How random!!

Enchanted with this publication. Is impressive past of everything that inhabits our land. Regards

Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

such an interesting topic.. those fossils are amazing.. it looks like imprinted thousands of years ago..

great article and discussion about archaeological facts!!

Thanks @jezmacher. Happy you found it so interesting.

Nice educational post and collection of fossils! I live in the Dinosaur capital, it is one of my favorite hobbies to go by riverbeds and see what the flow of water has dug up for me to find( of course I buy some too). It's a relaxing hobby that gets you out and enjoying the land. Thanks for sharing your story! xox

Long time no see! Hope you are doing good.

Well if you're anywhere near Drumheller, I know it all to well. We've stopped by there a few times on our way to the Rockies. It was a while ago, but I'm sure it's still as captivating as it was when we were young.

You must have an amazing collection of fossils. Do send some photos to share if you find the time. Would love to see what treasures you have found.

I was busy at work! Now I'm done for the summer. I live a few hours away from Drumheller but I go camping there every summer. Along the North Saskatchewan river is a good place to look on the banks for marine/plant and other fossils along with petrified wood and Native stone tools. All over Alberta is loaded with fossils. I bought the better pieces I have. Ever go to the Royal Tyrell when you stopped there?If not I did a 2 part piece last year I can dig up. Beautiful museum and largest collection in the world. Maybe I ca do a post of my collection someday. Here is a few pictures in the meantime.

stones-fossil bone.JPG
I never got it checked out all I know it's a fossilized bone I found just outside of Drumheller.

stones-amolite (1).JPG
The second one is a piece of Alberta's Amolite I bought a few year's ago

Busy at work? Whats that?! I dont understand😋
Alright alright, good enough excuse I guess. Glad to hear you have a few months of "freedom" ahead of you.

How brilliant you are living in such archeologically rich terrains! What kind of native stone tools do you usually find? We have a lot of flint here so flint tools are abundant (but much harder to spot).
The Royal Tyrell doesnt ring a bell but i may have gone... Would love a link if you've already posted on this topic.
Those 2 pieces on the photos are pretty special. The bone looks so dark, i thought it was a piece of volcanic rock at first.

Im sure your collection would make an interesting post. Drop me the link if you ever do it.

This history rocks!

Thanks to @akdx, this post was resteemed and highlighted in today's edition of The Daily Sneak.

Thank you for your efforts to create quality content.

Haha nice one!
Thank you so much @akdx, I am honoured and super happy to be featured in The Daily Sneak.

Its my pleasure!

What a delight this post is! Firstly, every time I read about your farm in Burgundy I'm so jealous...what a treasure. Secondly, you offer such a wealth of information about fossils and they are so beautiful!

Makes me think - someday, would you like to do a collaboration where we can make molds of the fossils and make a tile project from the imprints together? I would have to come to France (aw shucks!) and we could do the work over a period of 2-3 weeks. Something to think about.

Hehe, that sounds like an amazing idea Ruth!
I could learn so much from you and it would be so awesome to have you here!!! Let's do this!
(i'll start setting up a workshop area place thingie) 👏👏👏

:-))) this could be fun.....I'm going to start dreaming a little

Loved this one! Another quality post strikes again 😋
We have crinoids aplenty in all of our riverbeds and some prints on stones and such. Good call a out the vineyard searching! I cannot believe that ammonite was found in your parent’s barn. It would be hard to believe that they didn’t notice, but hey! Who knows the priorities back then? Haha! Also maybe that’s a spruce or fir tree tip - the one from Nevada? Just a guess.

Also, we went out with a guy who’s a major stone person in California near Lassen (ancient volcanic area) and found a bunch of petrified wood quickly formed from the eruptions - we have it placed all over the property. I love finding neat stones from all my travels and bringing them home 💚🌿

Yet another stone fan. Welcome to the club!
Spruce or fir tree print sounds fine to me... Not gonna argue with the plant experts 😉

Would love to see a photo of that petrified wood you found. I wonder how different it looks from the ones we have... And if you've figured out what kind of tree it is by looking at its bark. I know I can't but im sure you 2 would easily find the answer.

Thanks again for your kind words of support😘

❤️❤️was walking by these rocks I have sitting beneath one of my roses last night and remembered your request. Here are two samples we found. May be a pine or redwood caught in the lava of a pacific coast volcano:



And here’s my rose 😘


Your first one looks very familiar to the ones we have, and your second looks like a different kind of wood I've not yet seen petrified. Thanks for sharing these :)
I love the mixture of something as fragile and ephemeral as the rose, with the million year old living organism turned to stone.

A great collection. We used to fossick for fossils on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, UK.

frost cowboy bionicle 062.jpg

One of my prized posessions is an ammonite I found on the very first full day that my husband and I spent together (not pictured) ... its on my bookshelf and reminds me of love.

My sister in law was an archaeologist.. she has cabinets of fossils and old roman finds and all sorts of old stuff.

Oh that's a beautiful one. Even more so knowing how meaningful it is to you ❤
Amazing that you found it so intact. A rare find that's for sure.
Your sister in law's place must look a lot like my parent's!

Oh that one wasn't the romance rock... it's still there as far as I know.

Oops read too fast... Missed out the brackets😋

It seems like the earth is just one big pile of dead stuff.

It is! We're just spinning on a giant spherical rock of dead stuff. Not a bad ride most days but some days can make you a bit dizzy 😉

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I wanted to upvote this, but I am too late. I love fossils too, and so does my granddaughter (6 years old) who lives in the Alpes-Maritime area and loves to go fossil hunting.

Thank you Kathleen. It is a fun activity, even more so for the little ones who are avid treasure hunters :)
(i think the post payout closes some time this afternoon so you still have time to vote if you wish 😉)

I tried, to upvote it, but Steemit sent me a warning message and prevented it. That's ok, I will upvote future posts. I am following you.

No worries and thanks for trying 😀That's actually something interesting to know... I had no idea the ability to vote closed before the exact 7day post payout time.
Happy Tuesday!

Amazing piece of rocks mam. You shown many fossilized things. Great research a lot it's clearly shown.☺

Thank you. The research is fun and so interesting to do.

Hello. I discovered your article too late to vote on, but enjoyed it thoroughly. My dad was a huge rock hound, and I used to walk the RR tracks, creeks and quarries with him, in the search for fossils. Was very enamored of crinoids and trilobites, though trilobites were a big find. Rather scarce. The RR used limestone for their tie-beds, which is full of fossils.

Your ?? about the fossil leaf/stem looks to me to be a Dawn redwood, possibly? That is what we found in Eastern Oregon at least. There are tons in the road cutbanks. That and Ginkos. And little fish. THOSE are a HUGELY fun find. Though seldom 'surfacing', PFI.
Thanks for sharing your awesome collection. Sorry I missed this, but just discovering you on here. We have a mutual friend, @donnadavisart. She it a hoot, and very talented. Cheers.

Donna is one of the best! Happy to meet you here @ddschteinn.
Thanks for the guess on the leaf - you're probably right.
I do also remember seeing a fish one somewhere in their house. A very cool find indeed... with all the tiny bones and scale prints.

Happy to know there are people all around the world sharing the same excitement for fossil hunting :)

Amazing! You are another fellow steemian that in our #steemitvillage you'd give wonderful interesting talks on things in our village hall.

I'd love to make molds of these rocks so you could cast them and use them in cool art pieces.

Thanks Donna :)
Not been on Steemit lately but I'll look into #steemitvillage once I settle down a bit.
The molds sound like a cool idea. If you're ever in the Burgundian area of France let me know - would be fun to try and make this happen.

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I learned something new today. Interesting article and fantastic images.

Thanks for your visit and upvote.


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Nice pic good work

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Hi @osm0sis, quick question about your profile. What is a ‘Montessori Guide?’

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yes they are precious my friend..
Nice collection. Beautiful photographs..

Amazing post! Love these fossils!
Would like to find some along the river one day!

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What an awesome post on fossils! Very nicely written. Glad i found it.

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You have no new photos!!

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How come no new post?!

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Life got in the way... No time to write

Hopefully you can come back on one day. I have enjoyed reading some of your work... respect and health ❤️

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Amazing article, I love fossils, my parents have collected them for years, I remember going on trips and trying to find some when I was younger, we found a few small ones and I was amazed!

A fellow fossil hunter 😊 WOOHOO!
Thanks for coming by Verity.

Yes! Looking forward to seeing more of your posts :)

Comment ai-je pu rater ton article ! ah @ofildutemps ne m'a pas prevenu.
Quelle superbe collection de fossiles.
Mon rêve serait un trilobite mais par ici il n'y en a pas je crois .
L'ammonite géante quelle beauté!
Pour la plante j'aurais dit une fougère, pas sûr ?!

Merci @archethot! Ca me fait plaisir que tu me rendes visite. Surtout que j'ai pensé a toi en faisant ce blog.
Oui le trilobite n'est pas de France malheureusement... a mon avis il doit être beaucoup plus difficile a trouver, d'autant plus en une seule pièce! L'Ammonite géante est la fierté de ma mère et pour la plante, j'aurais dit comme toi, mais a vrai dire, je n'en ai aucune idée.
Merci en tout cas :)