Monday 26 January 2004

Strewth: Am I an Aussie?

The only time I ever went to Stonehaven was many, many years ago. I have vague memories of being in a pub by the harbour watching Scotland playing Brazil in the World Cup. Scotland probably did not win.

Now, Stonehaven's hit the news big time:

It has gone down in history as the town that invented the deep-fried Mars bar and the fountain pen, but now it appears a windswept Scottish coastal town is no less than the cradle of civilisation.

Scientists have been left slack-jawed with wonder at the discovery that life as we know it began in Stonehaven after a fossil picked up in the town last year was confirmed as the oldest air-breathing creature ever discovered.

The millipede is less than 1cm long but lived around 420 million years ago, when Aberdeenshire was part of a giant continent spanning the equator.

On my visit to the town I noticed that Stonehaven contains lots of sandstone buildings, as its name would indicate and indeed just like most places in Scotland. But those stones are almost as old as Sir Michael Jagger:
At this time (when the millipede was alive and kicking), Stonehaven is believed to have been part of a giant continent known as Larussia or the Old Red Sandstone Continent, which incorporated parts of modern-day Europe, Siberia and North America.
In the printed version of Scotland on Sunday we learn that:
When the fossil was created 420 million years ago the two land areas that eventually make up Britain lay south of the equator!
Does that mean that we Scots are really Australians? Maybe only those of us who've been around as long as the millipede. Pass me a tin of Fosters.