The word fossil comes from Latin “fodere” meaning ”having been dug up.” Anyone with a passion for ancient history cannot help being interested in the origin of the world and its evolution. Pliny’s use of the term fossil in the 1st century was picked up in the 16th by G. Agricola. Aristotle was passionate about them and Leonardo da Vinci studied them, casting doubt on the theory that presented fossils only as remains of the Flood. It was only in the 19th century that the works of Lyell and Lamarck, and ultimately Darwin’s theory of evolution, were able to create the theoretical framework necessary for the classification and understanding of fossils.
Palaeontology is the study of the traces of life preserved in crystal rocks and sediments, shells, animals, and plants. Fossilization is a very rare phenomenon which affects only 0.1% of known living beings since the appearance of life on earth. It also requires the merging of various phenomena: water in an anoxic environment, bacteria or insects, the presence of salt, ice, peat, or volcanic ashes. These rapidly engulf the living being so they reach decomposition in a protected environment, preferably in sandy or clay soil.
As sand is quite acidic, it can contain shells, bones, teeth, and fossils of micro-animals such as fish skeletons and plant remains, but not remains of soft organisms like jellyfish or flowers. In limestone and bituminous shale or sandy loam, we find details of softer parts and, therefore all types of mummification. In amber we can find insects, seeds, and flowers.
Galerie Golconda presents a selection of stones and fossils that are extraordinary for their size, their colour, their ornamental aspect and their rarity.