In what will no doubt inspire a few TV episodes and conspiracy theories, a Russian citizen is claiming to have found a piece of a gear shift embedded in a chunk of coal.
The age comes from the fact that it seems that the coal was formed around the metal item, so it’s probably 300 million years old, if it’s not a fake. Or embedded into the coal much later. Russian scientists seem to be overly credulous for guys who are supposed to demand hard facts and apply Occam’s Razor.
Apparently, early tests stated it was 98 percent aluminum and 2 percent magnesium, which, if true, would indicate that it’s more likely to be man-made. Although apparently it was “surprisingly soft”, which again makes us question this whole “embedded in the coal” thing. Either that or that is one incredibly tough gearshift, considering how coal is formed by intense pressure.
On the other hand, it’s also worth noting that nature can be seemingly deliberate when it comes to crystals and other natural formations. Completely natural patterns that seem man-made are actually fairly common. For example, here are some iodine crystals:
Or some rocks in Scotland that were worn away by wind and water, not human hands:
And also, this is Russia, land of insanity, and it’s not like they have any shortage of attention whores and people willing to fake things, either.
But that last answer is way more boring. No, for now, we’re going to pretend this is nature just screwing with us, because that’s a lot more fun.
Either that or we’ve got to throw out everything we know about the beginning of the Earth, so we’re a bit more inclined to go with the whole “Nature did it” theory.