The history of life on our world is a long and winding path. Much of what us know about how life has evolved comes from fossils. The physical stays of organisms and the proof of behaviors, such as footprints, tell us where, how, and who ancient life was. Uncovering the fossil record requires researchers with plenty of different areas of expertise, consisting of geology. Knowledge geology is an important to examining paleontology due to the fact that fossils are kept in rock. The qualities of the rocks that hold fossils have the right to be together informative as the fossils themselves.

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

Organisms the live in topographically low places (such as lakes or ocean basins) have the finest chance of being preserved. This is since they are already in areas where sediment is most likely to bury them and shelter them indigenous scavengers and also decay. Mudstone, shale, and limestone are examples of sedimentary rock likely to save fossils. Together the great of sediment build up on height of one another, they create a physics timeline. The earliest layers, along with the organisms the were fossilized together they formed, are deepest. The youngest great are discovered at the top. Analysis the class is complex by the reality that together continents move and mountains rise, the class are regularly tipped sideways and also altered in other ways.

Throughout the earth"s history, each of the three rock varieties has been continuously formed and also recycled right into other varieties of rock in a procedure called the “rock cycle.” This renders the rock record fragmentary and difficult to read, but enough rock has actually been produced over time to tell us a lot around the history of our planet.


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


Metamorphic rock is developed when existing rock is reinvented under high heat and pressure, which generally destroys any kind of fossils the were in the rock prior to it to be metamorphosed. Because that example, marble is produced when limestone is pressure-cooked in ~ the earth, resulting in the minerals that compose the rock to re-form into brand-new crystals.


Sedimentary rock is created by the buildup of minerals and other material. As rocks in ~ the earth"s surface ar are broken down, or “weathered,” the sediment is relocated by pressures such as water and wind and also deposited somewhere else in layers. End time, this layers build up and solidify, ending up being sedimentary rock. Organisms deserve to be kept as fossils if their bodies are hidden within these layers.

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

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

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