Nitro-Paleontology (or “Urban Fossiling”) is a new subdivision of paleontology, combining elements of geology, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, ecology, public health, mindfulness, procrastination and confusion.
While traditional paleontology is a historical science that aims to describe the Earth's organic and inorganic past, Nitro-Paleontology takes a post-modern approach to the study of a single, fascinating type of neo-fossil, or “Future Fossil”, the Nitronite.
If the concept of the Anthropocene epoch is to be formalized, scientists will first have to identify and define a boundary line, or marker, which will be literally set in stone. According to paleoclimatologist Alan Haywood of the University of Leeds in the U.K, "the key thing is thinking about how—thousands or hundreds of thousands of years in the future—geologists might come back and actually recognize in the sediment record the beginning of the Anthropocene." This website represents our attempt to do just that.
Our collection of rare samples are found mainly
at the kerbside at major road junctions as we cycle around London and collect
them where safe to do so. Although 100% recyclable, in practice the canisters
are not specifically recycled at all, and many are not even collected by
councils or refuse agencies. Some are swept up by street cleaners or the little
sweepy machines that hug the kerb with their spinning brushes. But there are
times of the week where you find more – and places where the supply is
constantly refreshed - and the traffic islands at the central reservation where
the sweepy machines rarely go can be sometimes produce rich seams of Nitronites.
Collecting each one is a small triumph, even though you seem to see them all
the time once you start looking...