The history of life top top our world is a long and also winding path. Much of what we know around how life has actually evolved comes from fossils. The physical stays of organisms and also the evidence of behaviors, such as footprints, tell us where, how, and who old life was. Uncovering the fossil record requires scientists with many different locations of expertise, including geology. Understanding geology is an important to examining paleontology since fossils are maintained in rock. The qualities of the rocks that organize fossils deserve to be together informative as the fossils themselves.

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

Organisms the live in topographically low places (such together lakes or ocean basins) have actually the best chance of being preserved. This is due to the fact that they are currently in locations where sediment is most likely to bury them and shelter them indigenous scavengers and decay. Mudstone, shale, and limestone are examples of sedimentary rock likely to save on computer fossils. As the layers of sediment build up on top of one another, they produce a physical timeline. The oldest layers, along with the organisms the were fossilized as they formed, space deepest. The youngest layers are uncovered at the top. Analysis the layers is complex by the fact that as continents move and mountains rise, the class are regularly tipped sideways and also altered in various other ways.

Throughout the earth"s history, every of the three rock species has been continuously formed and recycled into other varieties of absent in a procedure called the “rock cycle.” This renders the rock record fragmentary and complicated to read, but enough rock has actually been developed over time come tell united state a lot around the background of our planet.


Igneous rock is created by the cooling the molten rock, either at the surface (lava), or secret (as granite or other comparable rocks). The warm of molten rock commonly incinerates organisms quite than keeping them. There room some exceptions, such as tree trunks surrounding by lava and also preserved as casts, however these are rare. 


Metamorphic rock is developed when existing absent is reinvented under high heat and pressure, which usually destroys any fossils the were in the rock before it was metamorphosed. Because that example, marble is developed when limestone is pressure-cooked in ~ the earth, bring about the minerals that create the stone to re-form into new crystals.


Sedimentary rock is developed by the accumulation of minerals and other material. As rocks in ~ the earth"s surface are damaged down, or “weathered,” the sediment is relocated by forces such together water and wind and also deposited somewhere else in layers. Over time, these layers develop up and solidify, ending up being sedimentary rock. Organisms have the right to be kept as fossils if your bodies are hidden within this layers.

Interactive Geology ProjectIGP is a group of scientists and also animators based at the university of Boulder whose mission is to illustrate simple principles that geology in entertaining and obtainable ways.

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

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