THE FOSSIL RECORD Fossils – A fossil is an impression, cast, original material or track of any animal or plant that is preserved in rock after the original organic material is transformed or removed.

• For a fossil to form conditions have to be JUST RIGHT to prevent decomposition!

• We can tell the age of a fossil from several clues, such as the kind of atoms found in the surrounding rock (radiometric dating) , or the type of fossils above or below the found fossil in several layers of rock (principle of superposition) .

What are the fossil types? • Body fossils – actual parts of an organism, unaltered or altered bones, shells, leaf imprints • Trace fossils – evidence of life that is not a body fossil tracks, burrows, casts

A fossil may be: • an original skeleton or shell; • a mold or cast; • material that has replaced the once living thing; • traces such as footprints or worm tubes

What conditions promote fossilization? • Hard body parts such as skeletal bones or exoskeletons

What conditions promote fossilization? • Rapid burial and/or lack of oxygen

Layers on the bottom are older than layers on the top.

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