A Use for Super Glue Millions of Years in the Making

January 6, 2014 by Leave a reply »
Pin It


Super Glue Keeps Fossilized Whale Intact

In a recent story published online by The College of William and Mary, they reported that the remains of a seven-million-year-old whale were unearthed along the York River in Virginia. The find was considered tremendous, both for the size of the specimen and the relative rarity of whales from this era in this region. But our interest mainly lies in the way they kept this large, fragile fossil intact throughout the excavation: Super Glue.

It might be surprising, but fossils are not always as rigid as many of us think. Although the bones of animals are often preserved through the process of fossilization, becoming permineralized (“petrified”), it turns out that fossils can also be deceptively brittle. In fact, excavators working on the dig described parts of the skeleton as “buttery,” so soft that you could put your finger through them. In order to keep these pieces from falling apart, they used a special diluted form of Super Glue.

When we think of all the possible uses for Super Glue – from home repairs to crafts to medicine – we are continually surprised by the resourcefulness we often find.  It is truly wonderful to hear that more than 70 years after the development of cyanoacrylate, it is being put to use in homes, hospitals, and at dig sites. We’re sure the bond will be strong enough to keep this specimen preserved for future generations to see and study.

[Photo Credit: www.wm.edu]



Comments are closed.