Fossils And Paleontology

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What are fossils? “Fossils are the remains or impression of a prehistoric organism or object preserved in petrified form or as a mold or cast in a rock,” according to Encyclopedia.com. Some examples of fossils are a mold of a seashell in a rock or maybe the remains of a dinosaur such a tyrannosaurus rex. A mold of a seashell in a rock may not seem all that exciting, but it can tell us a whole lot about the past. Simply put, through fossils we get see what species existed on earth and when they existed. For instance, if a fossil of an animal were to be found it would be closely studied and compared to other known species with the use of a dichotomous key, scientific processes, and the six kingdom system. Through dating techniques scientists…show more content…
In the times of BC records were not as avidly kept. As a result history of paleontology does not become much clearer until even more recent times. Fun fact the word paleontology was not even invented until 1822 by the editor of a scientific journal whose name is unknown. The timeline of fossils is much more accurate with all the advanced technology of the 21st century. Dating techniques used by scientist become more and more accurate the more they are developed. In fact they’ve even discovered that the oldest known fossils are cyanobacteria from ancient rocks in Australia dating 3.5 billion years old! Cyanobacteria is a phylum of bacteria that get their energy through photosynthesis much like plants. To compare, the existence of the Homo genus only goes as far back as 2.8 million years, a theory supported by the remains of a jaw similar to that of a human. The Homo genus in definition is “a genus of primates that includes modern humans (Homo sapiens) and several extinct species” . A genus is “a class of things that have common characteristics and that can be divided into subordinate kinds”. A historical fossil find and honorable mention is the Burgess Shale. The Burgess Shale is a fossil deposit in the Canadian Rockies. It was found by the paleontologist Charles Walcott on August 8th, 1909. He had found more than 65,000 organisms in the Burgess Shale before his death at the age of

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