Artist Paints Octopus With 95 Million-Year-Old Ink

Jurassic Park captivated viewers with the idea that dinosaur DNA could be preserved in fossilized mosquitoes. While that plot line was fiction, there are things in this world  preserved through fossilization that can be brought to life, like the ink from a 95 million-year-old prehistoric octopus.

A new painting by Dutch wildlife artist Esther van Hulsen is an artistic and scientific wonder,  a realistic portrait of what a prehistoric octopus would have looked like that was painted using the animal’s fossilized ink.

The ink came from a fossil discovered in 2009 that was gifted to Jørn Hurum, a paleontologist who commissioned van Hulsen to paint the piece.

The finished product is a true-to-life, black-and-white painting of an octopus in motion. It looks as if it could float off the page. The painting now hangs in the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway.

“Knowing that this animal has used this ink to survive is absolutely amazing,” Van Hulsen told Colossal.

Although the octopus died so long ago, its own ink allows it to live on into the 21st century.

Artist at work

Fossil and Ink

Finished product

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