What are fossils and how are they used to interpret Earth's history?

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December 16, 2009 6:08AM

Fossils are essentially plant and animal matter that have been

replaced with stone over time, leaving a solid stone that appears

like the original plant or animal matter.

Fossilized leaves, petrified wood, and small oceanic creatures are


Fossilized bone is the most common animal remains with most other

parts of the animal carcass decaying very quickly. But, they are

somewhat rarer than the leaves & small marine animals.

Keep in mind that multi-million year old fossils are extremely

fragile and should only be handled by experts.

Fossils can often be dated by determining the age of the soils

surrounding them.

Many species of animals have come and vanished on earth over the

centuries and millenia. And the animal species, including man, that

have survived, have changed over time.

The fossils provide a record of the species that have existed in

the past, as well as providing additional support for Darwin's

theory of evolution by demonstrating changes to various species

over time.

A few species including Mammoths have been found locked in ice and

have been preserved virtually intact for thousands of years as

frozen specimens, finds that can be extremely exciting.

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