Among the many scientific and technological legacies that we received as a gift from Leonardo da Vinci, there is one that has only now been confirmed: it is the “discovery of palaeontology,” the science that studies fossils, from which the genius came. Yenchee began his reflections on the reconfiguration of the Piacenza Apennini.
Discover the group. This conclusion was reached by research conducted by an international group of scientists led by paleontologist Andrea Bocon, of the University of Genoa, with his colleague Girolamo Lo Rosso (Museum of Natural History in Piacenza), Carlos Neto de Carvalho (Naturtejo UNESCO Global Geopark / Institute Dr. Luiz , Portugal) and Fabrizio Feletti (University of Milan).
Baucon explains: “We discovered where palaeontology was born: it is in the Piacenza Apennines. This historical result was achieved by comparing the manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci with the fossil record of Piacenza.” To understand how this conclusion was arrived at, it should be emphasized how Baucon systematically studied the ciphers of Leonardo, discovering a forgotten passage from the Leicester Codex.
Thrilling. Leonardo in this passage describes some strange shapes in the stone, correctly interpreting them as snow fossils, that is, they are fossilized traces of the movement of ancient animals. “It was such an incredible emotion the discovery that Leonardo had guessed the true nature of these traces: these are, in fact, the most difficult fossils to understand, so much so that even in the first half of the twentieth century scientists still misinterpreted them as algae,” notes Bocon.
From Leicester’s law, it is understood that Leonardo recognized the organic nature of the so-called petrified shells, i.e. the fossil remains of ancient mollusks that Leonardo’s contemporaries considered an inorganic curiosity. But where is Leonardo da Vinci’s paleontology laboratory? “Take the map of the Piacenza Apennini,” Bocon explains, “and draw a circumference of 40 kilometers in the center of Castel Arquato: here was Leonardo’s paleontological laboratory.”
Leonardo’s word. The accuracy of this conclusion derives from a series of geographical and geological indications proposed by Leonardo himself. Towards the end of the fifteenth century AD, in fact, Leonardo was in Milan to work on an equestrian monument, when some peasant brought him excavations of mollusks with holes, coming – as Leonardo says – from The mountains of Parma and Piacentia. Leonardo also says that between layer and layer there are snow fossils produced by marine worms, or as he put it, “We can still find the directions of the earthworms that walked between them when it was not yet dry”. In their study, Baucon and colleagues describe the new fossil site as very rich in fishy fossils of the worm-like organisms.
in front of your eyes No particular technological means were required for this discovery, but a lot of perseverance and a little luck. Leonardo’s manuscript on icon fossils was actually under everyone’s eye: in 1994, Bill Gates bought Lester’s manuscript, and inserted it as a wallpaper for Windows 95! But what else does this discovery tell us? The study sheds new light on the biodiversity of deep marine ecosystems that characterized the Piacenza Apennines between 50 and 70 million years ago. In particular, it describes how marine ecosystems have reacted to massive disturbances, caused by turbid currents capable of carrying cubic kilometers of sediment into the depths of a cliff. According to scientists, the next step will be to reveal to the general public about the extraordinary glacial diversity of Pachinza Apennines, a place where history and science meet.
In the following video, Andrea Bocon explains what sand fossils are and how they can be found and discovered on Mars, if there is life at all…