The Old Old Earth

In 1517, the Republic of Venice rebuilt the fortifications protecting the city of Verona. During the construction, strange rocks came to light, looking eerily like seashells and crabs. People had long puzzled over fossils, but for some reason this new discovery left the people of Verona especially intrigued. Perhaps it was the fact that crabs and seashells live in the ocean, which was sixty miles from the city.

Some Veronese citizens decided to bring the rocks to the most learned scholar in the city at the time: a physician named Girolamo Fracastoro. Fracastoro looked at the fossils and came to a surprising conclusion. He immediately ruled out the possibility ...

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