The ink used to draw the squidlike creature below didn't come from a ballpoint pen. It came from the preserved ink sac of a recently discovered 150-million-year-old fossil of Belemnotheutis antiquus.
Squid today use a similar ink sac to shoot out black fluid that blinds predators. It is rare to find a fossil with an organ like an ink sac intact. Soft tissues usually decay rapidly after an animal dies. Hard tissues, like bones and teeth, on the other hand, take longer to decompose, so they have a better chance of hardening into fossils.
"This kind of preservation becomes [even more] important much further back in geological time, when there were animals for which there are no modern counterparts," says Phil Wilby, a paleontologist (scientist who studies fossils) who led the British Geological Survey's excavation in England.
LIFELIKE DRAWING: Scientists used ink from a fossilized creature's ink sac to draw its likeness.
Majerol, Veronica. "Sketched squid." Science World 9 Nov. 2009: 7. Academic OneFile. Web. 26 Nov. 2009.
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