In the past we have talked about Out of Place Artifacts or as I like to call them, Out of Place Things aka OOPTHs (and no, I didn’t invent either term, that honor goes to Ivan T. Sanderson, I believe). Now we have a report, from Russia, that a piece of a gear has been pulled from a lump of coal that is dated at 300 million years… before the dinosaurs were around and before much of anything was around, to have made it.
This story, which comes from the far reaches of Russia, near the borders of China and North Korea, features a man named Dmitry who was throwing coal into his furnace (my speculation about what he was doing because it is better than suggesting he found it in coal he had bought… a little motion and action to excite the reader) when he found the object embedded in the coal.
Personally, I would have been more impressed if Dmitry had lived in an area a little more accessible, and if his name hadn’t been quite so common, and if we had a way of ensuring that the coal was actually 300 million years old. Sure, we’re told that the coal came from the Chemogorodski Mines and that coal from that area is reliably dated to that extreme age, but we don’t really have a good chain of custody, which means we can’t prove that the coal came from there without some chemical analysis.
The other thing is that “experts” who are unidentified, except for a biologist, are saying that since this obviously manufactured object was found embedded in the coal; it must be the same age of the coal… which, of course, isn’t exactly true.
The picture of the object certainly shows that it was embedded in the coal, rather than being something that was just associated with the coal. So, while this is interesting, there isn’t enough information to suggest that the gear was 300 million years old.
To annoy my skeptical friends, I will say that if this gear was, in fact, 300 million years old, this would be some good evidence of alien visitation… though you could say it says something about the evolution of the planet. Maybe another intelligence species developed a civilization and all evidence of it except this gear has vanished.
There is a much more mundane explanation for this and I think it was just a slow news day.