A DEVOUTLY Christian family took fright when they unearthed a 95-million-year-old skeleton of an Ichthyosaurus in Somerset, England. Fearing the extinct ‘fish lizard’ would put a a bloody great dent in the silly creationist beliefs that were prevalent in Victorian times, they hastily reburied it.
But now, thanks one of the family’s descendants – Julian Temperly, above, of the Somerset Cider Brandy Company – the fossil has not only been restored and mounted at a cost of around £3,000, but will feature as an image on his products’ labels.
Temperley is quoted in this report as saying:
It was found by either William Philosophus Bradford or John Wesley Bradford — my great-great-grandfather or his father — in around about 1850 in their lime quarry at Pitsbury near Langport … It was while they were digging the quarry that they came across the Ichthyosaurus. They took it home and buried it. You have to remember that fossils weren’t really explained until Darwin came along.
Up until then, if you believed in fossils you were denying the Bible saying God created Day One, and so on. Anyway, eventually Darwin came along and convinced people that fossils weren’t anything to do with Satan.
Well, not all people.
A Gallup poll earlier in July 2019 revealed that 40 percent of US adults ascribe to a strictly creationist view of human origins, believing that God created them in their present form within roughly the past 10,000 years. However, more Americans continue to think that humans evolved over millions of years – either with God’s guidance (33 percent) or, increasingly, without God’s involvement at all (22 pecent).
Despite Julian Temperley and his immediate family growing up in the 20th century with modern education and no fear of being hounded by dotty creationists such as Ken “Ark Encounter” Ham, above, the Ichthyosaurus stayed buried in a garden. Family members would dig it up whenever vacationing at the property to examine it, but always reburied it.
But after the flooding of 2013-14 we realised it was not a good idea to leave it buried and I thought we ought to look after it. The teeth are still there in the enamel form after 90 million years … We will now keep it on the wall of our cider brandy bond where it will be part of the family history.
As for the new branding aspect of his cider brandy, Temperley feels the creature, which went extinct around 95 million years ago, shares his company’s ethos.
Putting it with aging spirits seems like the right thing to do.