The history of life on our earth is a long and winding path. Much of what we know about how life has actually evolved originates from fossils. The physical continues to be of organisms and the proof of behaviors, such together footprints, tell us where, how, and who ancient life was. Uncovering the fossil record requires researchers with plenty of different locations of expertise, consisting of geology. Expertise geology is vital to researching paleontology due to the fact that fossils are preserved in rock. The characteristics of the rocks that host fossils deserve to be as informative as the fossils themselves.

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There room three main types of rock: igneous rock, metamorphic rock, and sedimentary rock. Almost every fossils are preserved in sedimentary rock.

Organisms the live in topographically low areas (such together lakes or ocean basins) have the best chance of being preserved. This is because they are currently in areas where sediment is likely to ask them and also shelter them indigenous scavengers and decay. Mudstone, shale, and limestone are instances of sedimentary rock likely to save on computer fossils. Together the great of sediment build up on top of one another, they produce a physical timeline. The earliest layers, together with the organisms that were fossilized as they formed, room deepest. The youngest great are found at the top. Reading the great is complicated by the truth that as continents move and also mountains rise, the great are often tipped sideways and altered in other ways.

Throughout the earth"s history, every of the three rock species has been repeatedly formed and also recycled into other types of rock in a procedure called the “rock cycle.” This renders the rock document fragmentary and challenging to read, but enough rock has been created over time come tell united state a lot about the background of our planet.


Igneous rock is created by the cooling that molten rock, one of two people at the surface ar (lava), or underground (as granite or other similar rocks). The heat of molten rock normally incinerates organisms quite than maintaining them. There are some exceptions, such as tree trunks surrounded by lava and preserved together casts, yet these space rare. 


Metamorphic rock is formed when existing rock is transformed under high heat and also pressure, which generally destroys any type of fossils the were in the rock before it was metamorphosed. For example, marble is produced when limestone is pressure-cooked within the earth, bring about the mineral that write the rock to re-form into new crystals.


Sedimentary rock is developed by the build-up of minerals and other material. As rocks in ~ the earth"s surface are damaged down, or “weathered,” the sediment is moved by pressures such together water and wind and deposited in other places in layers. End time, these layers construct up and also solidify, coming to be sedimentary rock. Organisms can be kept as fossils if your bodies are hidden within these layers.

Interactive Geology ProjectIGP is a team of scientists and also animators based in ~ the college of Boulder who mission is to illustrate simple principles the geology in to chat and accessible ways.

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A Brief history of v TimeThis 25-minute movie illustrates the geologic advancement of v time.

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