The phenomenon of “living fossils,” in which animals are said to be found trapped in stones, tree trunks, or concrete, is not something that can be explained by modern science. While there are some skeptics who suggest that these reports are simply cases of misidentification, many of the accounts describe animals that are found deep underground and in rock that is believed to be thousands of years old. The animals are often reported as being in good health when discovered, and some are even said to have characteristics that match extinct or evolved species.
One of the most famous cases of a living fossil is that of a toad that was discovered in 1865 in Durham, England. The toad was estimated to be over 6000 years old, and was found in a block of magnesian limestone 25 feet underground. The toad appeared to have difficulty breathing and turned darker in color after it was freed, and lived only a few hours or days after being released.
Another notable case is that of Dr. Edward D. Clarke, a geologist who in 1818, found three well-preserved newts in a chalk quarry 270 feet underground. When he placed these living fossils in the sun, the newts began to move around, with two of them dying shortly after. The third newt, however, remained lively and was released into a pond. Dr. Clarke claimed that the newts were an extinct species unknown to science.
There is no scientific explanation as to how an animal could survive for such long periods of time encased in stone, without water or food. Some theories suggest that the animals collect water and nutrients that seep through the stone, while others point to the possibility that these reports of trapped animals might actually be cases of prehistoric animals that have been preserved through fossilization.
It is a mystery that continues to baffle scientists, and many of these reports remain unexplainable. These cases are intriguing, but must be approached with a critical mindset and considered as unverified claims. As no proof have been found to support the claims, it is deemed as legend or folklore.