Posted in biology, design and architecture


From Nature’s blog “The Great Beyond” (and other places:

That you can extract ink from a 150 million old squid-like fossil and still use it to draw is pretty cool and so it caused a bit of a media frenzy this week.

Phil Wilby, a researcher at the British Geological Survey who is behind the discovery of the fossil and the subsequent drawing, ground the solidified, black ink from a fossil of an ancient squid like animal (Belemnotheutis antiquus) and then mixed it with ammonia to create a paint then used to draw a picture of the animal. This might suggest that the ancient ink has similar properties to modern ink, something that awaits confirmation from Yale University in America where it was sent for an in-depth chemical analysis, after which the results will be published.

Wilby told Nature that “fossil cephalopod ink has been found in even older specimens (more than 300 million years old) and, counter intuitively, appears to be amongst the most frequently fossilised soft tissues.”

The fossil was discovered in the long lost Victorian excavation site in Trowbridge, UK, which was renowned for the abundance of soft-tissue fossils. After re-discovering the site, Wilby and his team reported their preliminary findings from a trial excavation in Geology Today last year.

Read more.

illustration of concept of squid pen
illustration of concept of squid pen


Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.