and Discovery in
Released 25.3.2020 CHECK OUT THE BOOK REVIEW HERE…
David cursed under his breath as his motorbike slid sideways. Only his quick reactions saved him from falling onto the track. He was on his way out to the back forty acre paddock on Belmont Station in outback Queensland. A third generation farmer, David could ‘read’ this land like a book, and he thought his farmland looked pretty darn good. After years of drought inches of welcome rain had fallen over the past several months. It made the black soil soft and sticky, but it was heaven for the Mitchell grass which had been lying semi-dormant in the dirt. The grass grew inches every week, and soon Belmont had been transformed from dry parched paddocks to lush feed lots.
This weather pattern would later be referred to as a ‘great dinosaur hunters’ season.’ When it is dry the black soil contracts and shrinks. When it rains the same soil swells and expands, and this causes the layers in the soil to mix up. Over the years anything caught in the soil is gradually squeezed up to the surface. Even dinosaur bones.
David had sheep on the back forty acres, and he wanted to be sure they were okay and had not got bogged. If they did they could die. He hoped whatever he had hit had not damaged his motorbike. When he got off to check the front wheel he saw a rock, a fair sized rock with a peculiar pattern on it. David had always been observant, a trait extremely important in a farmer. He was curious, so he picked up the rock and put it on the tray of the bike to take back to the farmhouse.
He would look at it later. First he’d check his sheep and then do some repairs on the cattle yards – he was hoping the trucks would be able to get through soon to pick up a load of cattle to take to market. The recent rain had meant Belmont Station had been isolated for several weeks. The postman had been able to get through for the first time yesterday, but he was pretty edgy by the time he got to Belmont. Digging out of and dodging patches of sticky black mud had made his mail run a nightmare. Hopefully, by next week, the road should be dry enough for the trucks to get through.
After dinner David and his wife Judy examined the rock. It didn’t look like other rocks found on the property. It was quite large and unusually heavy, and it had a particular pattern on one edge. David thought he recognised the cellular pattern, he had seen it before on weathered bones of cattle that had died. But this rock was far too big to be a bone from a cow. Far too big, and far too heavy. They turned the rock over, examining all sides. It definitely looked more like a bone than rock. What if?
David and Judy had the same thought at the same time. Was this the remains of an animal bigger than a cow? David had often wondered what this land used to be like thousands or even millions of years ago. He had read that millions of years ago this part of Australia was a great inland sea, and then later covered in vast forests. And it was suggested dinosaurs had lived here. Hard to imagine when you looked at what was here now. What if this bone was a piece of some long extinct inhabitant?
David and Judy were out of their depth here. They were farmers – not fossil experts. But the mayor of Winton was interested in fossils, and he knew other people who were experts in that field. David decided he would talk to the mayor of Winton next time he was in town. Little did he know that this find was about to change his life forever…
Next chapter coming tomorrow…
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