June Headlines: Religion and Fossils

If you’re looking for the latest news involving archeological finds associated with religion or information regarding the past life of dinosaurs, consider this article, which will touch upon fossils and St Paul.

Oldest Image of St Paul Found?

With the help of laser technology, Vatican archeologists have uncovered what they believe is the oldest image in existence of St Paul the Apostle. In this article, you will also learn the fate of a dino hunter and details on a prehistoric giant elephant.

Dating back to the late 4th century, the walls of a catacomb situated beneath Rome are causing quite a stir with the discovery of an image of St Paul the Apostle. Printed in the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano, a photo of a picture of a frescoed image of the face of a man appeared. He had a pointed black beard and was surrounded by a red background. A bright yellow halo was pictured and he also had a high forehead with a furrow.

When experts of the Ponitifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology spoke of the discovery that took place on June 19, they described the icon found in the Catacomb of Santa Tecla in Rome as the ‘oldest in history dedicated to the cult of the Apostle.’ The lasers used in the process of deconstructing the image tore away layers of clay and limestone before they were able to catch sight of what lay underneath. The discovery came just in time for an announcement the day before Rome observes a religious holiday dedicated to the Feasts of St Peter and St Paul.

Giant Prehistoric Elephant Discovered

If you love elephants, then you’ll probably be interested in knowing that the remains of the largest, most complete skeleton of a prehistoric giant elephant ever uncovered in the tropics has been found. Researchers are pleased with the find, which could shed light on the origins of the Asian species, which has remained shrouded in mystery for quite some time.

Researchers believe that the elephant became submerged in quicksand shortly after dying on a riverbed in Java some 200,000 years ago. Luckily, the surrounding conditions allowed the bones to stay nearly perfectly preserved. It was only by chance that the discovery took place , when monsoon rains caused the sand quarry to collapse. The elephant measured 13 feet tall and was 16 feet wide.

The elephant is estimated to have weighed more than 10 tons. Overall, he mostly resembled the woolly mammoth that lived during the same time period. It’s a rare find indeed, as animal fossils are usually not found in humid, hot weather conditions because the equator plays a hand in speeding up the decomposition process.

The Fate of a Montana Dino Hunter

This month, a sentence was handed down to the well-known dinosaur hunter Nathan Murphy after a guilty plea for stealing fossils. For four months, Murphy will live in a halfway house and undergo three years probation thereafter. His crime? Stealing 13 dinosaur bones from central Montana’s Hell Creek badlands in 2006. He was ultimately charged with lifting government property. Additionally, Murphy will have to pay  $17,325 in restitution and complete 300 hours of community service.