Do you dream that your bones may one day end up in the museum of a new civilization an aeon from now? Only one bone in a billion ends up being fossilised, so do your planning now.
The Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre in Nieu-Bethesda explains, in a light-hearted way, the rather stringent conditions:
- Die on a floodplain close to a meandering river in a lowland area where silt and mud accumulate.
- Die where you’ll get buried in mud and sand, preferably on a lakeshore or a migrating sand dune.
- Avoid being eaten by big scavenging bone-crunchers like hyena. Better still, die in a burrow, but definitely avoid being buried in a coffin.
- Either way, get buried quickly. Within five years your bones will disintegrate if they’re exposed. A collapsed burrow, a tar pit or simple quicksand would be perfect.
- You’ll need your bones to be mineralised within 50 000 years, so your resting place should ideally have plenty of limestone in the soil. This will also stop them becoming flattened.
- Avoid places where there might be volcanoes or earthquakes.
- Try to die in a place where an experienced fossil finder will discover you in a million years.
The Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre is one of Nieu-Bethesda’s attractions. It’s open between 9am and 5pm most days. They have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/theauthenticfossilplace). To contact them, call 011 717 6685 or 076 629 0058. You could also email email@example.com or Ian.Mckay@wits.ac.za. Alternately email firstname.lastname@example.org.