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History of Geology

History of Geology

What rocks tell and how we came to understand it

You ever dance with the Devil’s Fossils…

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"Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

("Batman" 1989)

The night before December 6, belongs to the Krampus, a beast-like demon in the Alpine folklore - and strange marks can be found on some rocks in the Dolomites - resembling the imprints of an exceptional large cloven hoof.

Ancient stories tell of these secret places, where witches, sorcerers and lesser demons gathered in a wild dance - and at midnight the devil himself, disguised as a black goat, would appear. But at sunrise even the mightiest evil force had to return to hell - on the rocks only the imprints of the devil's hooves remain as grim reminder.

The geologist explains the strange hoof-like figures as cross sections of large extinct bivalves of the genus Megalodus, but then, wasn't the greatest trick of the devil convincing the world he didn't exist...

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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