Tragic trace fossil

I went out for an early morning walk today, and was brought up short by this reminder of the terrible Minnesota Pyroclastic Mud Flow of 1998…an entire family wiped out, leaving behind only these imprints from their flailing, panic-stricken limbs.

Maybe I’m projecting, though, with a lot of flailing going on here as I dread having to buckle down and finish all my grading. I think I can get it all done today if I push hard.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    I think the guy in “Little Britain” who pretended to need a wheelchair (and liked to step in wet cement when no one was looking) has been there.

  2. PaulBC says

    I live in a house that was build in 1952. Apparently some Pompeii like event also happened in this neighborhood. There is a patch of sidewalk in which the victim could do no more than scrawl “I like Ike” before meeting certain death.

  3. zetopan says

    “Very odd pattern of movement of the limbs”
    Surely you know that in human’s ancient past we had ancestors who walked on “all fours”. They also apparently had terrific lateral flexibility, even better than the reptiles.

  4. nomdeplume says

    @7 Yes indeed, but they either moved using diagonally opposite limbs, or same side limbs, together. These strange creatures seemed to have movement where the back limbs jump forward together sideways next to the front limbs. Perhaps we could call it the Barn Dance Gait…

  5. zetopan says

    After descending from the trees, early human ancestors were really keen to try out bipedalism but quite slow to figure out which end actually goes up.