A Fish Called Gogo

This week the world’s oldest heart has been found preserved inside a fossilised prehistoric fish. The “ancient” often comes hand-in-hand with the “sacred”, but we must regretfully take note that it is not a human being that holds this particular record. We’re somewhere off the western coast of Australia, the protagonist of our story is a fish, known as the Gogo, that became extinct 380 million years ago. All that remains of this ‘placoderm’ is a fossil… yet its heart is intact.

It all makes sense. For our ancestors, sacredness lay at the bottom of the deep blue sea and its awe-inspiring wonders never missed an opportunity to surface, perhaps disguised as art, with poets, artists and sculptors ‘splashing out’ on huge quantities of jellyfish, mermaids (sirens) or tritons. Electric moray eels exerted what one might term as shock fascination: a sort of otherworldly ‘touch-point’, they were bred in pools by the Romans. Not to mention the Koiné word for “fish” which eventually became the acronym for Jesus…

In other words, it isn’t solely on terra firma that one finds sacredness. However, as we swim in these times of ours that seem to turn us inside out like a sock, we could at least look a little closer: fish never close their eyes. On the other hand, we humans want blind luck and blindfolded justice – and we enjoy happiness with our eyes shut! Could our mothers have been right when they warned us to keep our eyes wide open? Alertness will keep us afloat.