Part of what makes being a human interesting is the intuition that gives tool-making such a valued place in the history of our skills and talents. Flints became weapons, sticks were sharpened to become weapons, and many many other things became weapons. But sometimes it isn’t about weaponry. Sometimes it’s about pressing ham.
In 1980, Faustino Asensio Lopez was tending livestock with his father in a field near Ciudad Real in Spain when he found a 220-pound rock measuring 18 x 12.5 x 8 inches. In other words, no mere ball bearing. Lopez assumed it to be scrap metal leftover from the Spanish Civil War and took it home, where he kept it on his porch and he and his family used it to cure meats for 30 years. Until, that is, Lopez saw a 2011 news report about meteor sightings over Spain. He then contacted geologist Juan Carlos Gutierrez Marco, whose analysis of the rock confirmed it to be a prehistoric meteorite, and the fourth of its kind to be found in Spain over the past 115 years, having lasted this long mainly due to being buried.
So not only did Lopez discover that a household item of his is actually one of the rarer rocks ever discovered, he then found out the thing is worth somewhere around $5.3 million. Not a bad pay day for a farmer, or anyone else on the planet.
The sample used for testing is being displayed at Madrid’s Mining Museum alongside a replica of the original. The initial smile on Lopez’s face was (not) reportedly “way too fucking big to fit even a replica inside the museum.” I’m gonna see if this coat hanger I use to scratch my back is made out of dinosaur bones.