By Guest Contributor, Financial Sales Manager, Brenda G. Stephenson
Have you ever heard the saying “you are old as Methuselah?” I sure have. Dr. Shuhai Xiao of Geobiology at Virginia Tech will tell you that you are not, and he has proof.
The Rotary Club of Salem has had the privilege of hearing from and speaking with Dr. Xiao recently at a Rotary event. His specialty is diving into “fossils, geology and evolution.”
I must say I found this time together with Dr. Xiao to be quite interesting. I can remember as a little girl climbing mountains with my kindergarten class looking for fossils. It was exciting, getting dirty and climbing mountains, but I must admit I never knew quite the big deal about them until I met Dr. Xiao.
For the first time ever, I must admit I really listened to this man of great knowledge and so easy to understand. I could not believe he actually found and had fossils that were over a billion years old, for a moment there I thought I was getting ready to enter the “Jurassic Park” zone.
I never knew that finding fossils this old could be so helpful to our earthly needs today. Using geological survey data, Dr. Xiao and his collaborators found rocks old enough to contain evidence of the most ancient animals, plants and yes even fungi.
But when he started talking about local fossils and where they can be located, I really perked up. One place he mentioned was Catawba Mountain in Roanoke County and guess what, he is right. I go by there every day, twice a day and the many folks I see coming out there looking for these fossils leaves me in shock.
I encourage anyone who would like to dig (no punt there) in further to please contact Dr. Xiao at Virginia Tech. He has studied around the world, including Russia, China, Namibia and Australia. I can honestly tell you that you will never look at your environment the same as you are before reading his books, attending one of his lectures.