The article reported the recent discovery of a fossilized theropod found accidentally by a hunter near the Citico Creek area of Cherokee National Forest. The specimen was estimated to be more than 77 million years old. Yet, in spite of this, the skin, bones and organs seem to all be intact!
In fact, according to the East Tennessee State University Natural History Museum in Gray, Tennessee, which recently unveiled the find, the dinosaur was said to be so well-preserved that instead of a “fossil”, it could safely be called a “dinosaur mummy”. A better term might be the “Holy Grail” of paleontology!
Apparently, the researchers examining the find were all completely astounded at the “nearly unprecedented level of preservation” on display. It actually seems as if the creature’s skin, teeth, and even some of its guts are all intact. It goes without saying that this is something never seen before!
As one researcher put it: “You don’t need to use much imagination to reconstruct it; if you just squint your eyes a bit, you could almost believe it was sleeping.”
Clearly, just how the dinosaur mummy could remain so intact for so long remains somewhat of a mystery. At present, researchers’ best explanation seems to be that the unfortunate theropod may have been swept away by a flooded river and carried out to an ancient sea, where it eventually sank to the now exposed ocean floor.
Either way, it is believed to be identified as Appalachiosaurus, based on where it was found. Given the expert condition of its bodily remains, conservation experts are even looking into coding its DNA. A certain Dr. James Harvin even stated: "Knowing this animal once roamed this area, we will be putting all effort possible into restoring the species. We hope to reintroduce it into its ancient stomping grounds.”
I have to tell you I was simply dumbfounded. Visons of “Jurassic Park” ran through my head as I considered the astounding possibilities raised! It was then that my wife, with a smile on her face, brought me back to reality with one simple statement: “Look at the date of the post…”
I did; and to my chagrin, it read: “April 1, 2022”. Needless to say, I felt like the proverbial April Fool!
Now, in my defense, I have always been captivated by anything related to the past. Seriously, I love all things paleontological and/or prehistorical! As well as archaeological! And in all such matters, digging things up is critical. Otherwise, how would we know what all we now do about the past?
That being said, some things are perhaps best left undug and uncovered!
In 1986, Randy Travis released the second of what would be a total of ten number one career singles titled “Diggin’ Up Bones”. This insightful song, written by Paul Overstreet, Al Gore (No, not that one!), and Nat Stuckey, conveys a powerful message with these words:
“Last night I dug your picture out from my old dresser drawer.
I set it on the table and I talked to it 'til four.
I read some old love letters right up 'til the break of dawn.
Yeah, I've been sittin' alone diggin' up bones!”
“Then I went through the jewelry and I found our wedding rings.
I put mine on my finger and I gave yours a fling,
Across this lonely bedroom of our recent broken home.
Yeah tonight I'm sitting alone diggin' up bones!”
The chorus then goes on to state:
“I'm diggin' up bones; I'm diggin' up bones;
Exhuming things that's better left alone.
I'm resurrecting memories of a love that's dead and gone.
Yeah tonight I'm sittin' alone diggin' up bones.
As these words aptly demonstrate, it may not always be in our best interest to dig up the past. In fact, sometimes, it is clearly in our best interest let sleeping bones lie!
Dinosaurs, both sauropod (four-footed plant-eating ones) and theropod (two footed upright meat eating ones), clearly existed in the past. There are simply too many extant specimens in existence today to deny this. Of course, neither I nor anyone else can be exactly certain as to when they existed. But they did once exist.
That being said, I will be the first to admit that I am glad they no longer walk among us! Otherwise, I assure you, my daily walks through the outdoors of east Tennessee would clearly be pared down – and much shorter and much closer to home!
The point is that digging up the past is one thing. But digging up the past in order to revive it is another thing altogether. Some things in the past are probably best left alone.
And while dinosaurs are not likely to be revived and to walk among us wreaking havoc any time soon, other things we so often insist on digging up clearly do! Old wounds, old hurts, old scores, and old affronts are all best left in the grave! Randy Travis was right: some old bones are better left alone!
We all have our pasts. And in these various pasts are invariably some bones that may best be left just where they are. Can you dig them up? Yes. You sure can. But should you dig them up? Probably not! Maybe, just maybe, they are best left just where they now lie – in the grave!
God once used the Old Testament Prophet, Isaiah (chapter 43, verses 18-19), to admonish His people to “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” He then explained why: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Echoing this, the Apostle Paul later wrote in his New Testament Letter to the Philippians (chapter 3, verse 14): “… this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Both Isaiah and Paul were on to something. Maybe, just maybe, we all need to let go of “the former things”, “the things of old”, and “what lies behind”. And maybe, just maybe, we all need to focus more on some “new thing”, some new “goal”, and above all, some ultimate “prize” that God intends for us in the future.
The first day of April notwithstanding, it is no fool who understands that one cannot go forward today into tomorrow when he or she is busy constantly digging up yesterday!