Umm Yale? Belemnotheutis Antiquus Called: He Wants His Sepia Back.


Recently, a team led by British Geological Survey palaeontologist, Dr Phil Wilby, uncovered a 155 million year old squid-like creature with a full and perfectly preserved ink sac. Found near the small village of Christian Malford, Wilshire, this slim-line cephalopod known as Belemnotheutis antiquus is a perfect example of a process of fossilization known as the Medusa effect. “In normal circumstances, the decomposition process means only the hard parts of animal are preserved, such as the bones, shell and teeth. The odds of this find are easily a billion to one and probably much greater,” Wilby told the press. “We call it the Medusa effect: specimens turn to stone within a matter of days, before the soft parts can be eaten away.”

Recalling an experiment performed in 1826 when William Buckland sent Sir Francis Chantrey a sample of preserved sepia from a fossilized cuttlefish with which he was successfully able to draw a picture, Wilby’s team produced a portrait of the Belemnite, having returned the ink to liquid form by mixing it with an ammonia solution. The remaining ink has been sent to Yale University for further analysis.

squid ink

Now I know you must have a problem with this, Belemnotheutis antiquus. First they take away your ink sac, cruelly using the sepia within to render a grisly likeness of your handsome dart-shaped self, which is kind of the equivalent of extracting a part of your brain and making you eat it (kind of…), and then they send the rest of it to some laboratory where they’ll do all kinds of untold experiments on it. You might never get it back, Belemnotheutis antiquus, and that’s your ink sac.

My advice, disgruntled cephalopod? Steal that shit back, of course, and enlist the help of Buckland’s equally disgruntled cuttlefish, because I’m sure he feels he’s got a score to settle (even if the chances of him getting his own sepia back are quite slim given the amount of time that’s already passed since its removal). All you’ll need to do is give Yale a call and schedule an interview with some hot young lab technician. Show up at her lab with Buckland’s cuttlefish in tow and get him to hide behind the door while you introduce yourself and try to get the hot young lab technician to like you. You won’t have to do much, Belemnotheutis antiquus, because as is, you’re kind of a palaeontological wonder, and thus quite a catch (*cough*).

Be sure to make like you’re interested too, Belemnotheutis antiquus, but don’t do that thing where you smile coyly while glancing down at the ends of your tentacles. That’s what girls do. Be all, “Hey there… lab lady. You look pretty swell in your, umm, lab coat…” and she’ll giggle and tell you her name is Daphne. At this point you’ll probably need to sneak Buckland’s cuttlefish into the lab, so create a diversion by telling the hot young lab technician that you like her hair, how it’s all wavy and light-coloured or something (whatever you can come up with, Belemnotheutis antiquus, it doesn’t really matter). She’ll giggle again, look down at her shoes and unwittingly give Buckland’s cuttlefish the perfect opportunity to slip through the door undetected.

But of course, being the clumsy screw-up that he is, Buckland’s cuttlefish will accidentally knock a rack of test tubes off the bench as he scuttles towards your ink sac, which will be conveniently sitting out, (fortunately for the both of you, Belemnotheutis antiquus) as the hot young lab technician hopes to ask you a dozen or so questions about it, because that’s why you’re there. The test tubes will likely smash quite loudly on the laboratory floor, being made of glass as they normally are, but please don’t think you will need to expose yourself to the hot young lab technician in order to distract her from the commotion. I’m sure your cephalopod genitals are treasured and revered by all the lady cephalopods back home, but to human females, my good belemnite, probably not so much. Just laugh really enthusiastically at the last thing the hot young lab technician said, and if she gives you a puzzled look, just be like, “Oh, sorry, ‘Chromatoelectropherograms?’ I thought you said, ‘hydraulic ram!’ You’re funny.” She won’t get it, Belemnotheutis antiquus, and nor should she because it won’t make any sense, but that’s not going to matter because the point is she’s going to think that you think she’s really funny, and girls like that.

By this stage Buckland’s cuttlefish will have safely stowed your ink sac somewhere near his anus (don’t be embarrassed, Belemnotheutis antiquus, you can’t help the anatomical organisation of your molluscular class) and will be making for the open window. Ask the hot young lab technician where the bathroom is and tell her you’ll probably need to visit it immediately and for a good while as the plankton you ate earlier doesn’t seem to be sitting right. This will of course be a big fat lie, Belemnotheutis antiquus, being your very clever avenue of escape, but don’t worry, the hot young lab technician will get over it eventually.

You’ll lollop your way over to the tree you agreed to meet Buckland’s cuttlefish under to retrieve your ink sac in return for an appreciative pat on the mantle, but oh shit, disgruntled cephalopod, that sneaky fuck will never show. You’ll be waiting there for hours for Buckland’s cuttlefish like some kind of idiot while he’ll be long-gone, painting the town inky with his ill-gotten appendage. I’d love to say that none of us could see this coming, Belemnotheutis antiquus, but, well…

Times Online // JS Blog

– bec

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Filed under Fossils, Museum Stuff, Science, Sea Creatures

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