By the seventeenth century, it was still widely believed that species could not become extinct, and there were still many hypotheses about the origin of fossils. One widely-held belief, extending back to Aristotle’s time, was that fossils were formed by the Earth itself, and that some “extraordinary Plastick virtue” could create stones that resembled, but were not, living organisms. But also during the seventeenth century, some critical advances in the world of science were having an impact on fossil research. Robert Hooke was born at Freshwater, on the Isle of Wight, in 1635. Though of humble origins, he eventually studied at Oxford and impressed many of England’s leading scientists with his ability to design experiments and build equipment.