The background of life on our earth is a long and also winding path. Lot of what we know around how life has evolved originates from fossils. The physical continues to be of organisms and the proof of behaviors, such together footprints, tell united state where, how, and also who old life was. Uncovering the fossil record requires researchers with plenty of different areas of expertise, including geology. Expertise geology is an essential to examining paleontology due to the fact that fossils are maintained in rock. The qualities of the rocks that organize fossils can be as informative together the fossils themselves.

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There space 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 s basins) have actually the ideal chance of gift preserved. This is since they are currently in locations where sediment is likely to ask them and also shelter them indigenous scavengers and decay. Mudstone, shale, and also limestone are examples of sedimentary rock most likely to save on computer fossils. As the great of sediment construct up on optimal of one another, they produce a physical timeline. The oldest layers, in addition to the organisms the were fossilized together they formed, are deepest. The youngest great are discovered at the top. Reading the great is facility by the truth that together continents move and mountains rise, the class are regularly tipped sideways and also altered in various other ways.

Throughout the earth"s history, each of the three rock types has been consistently formed and recycled right into other types of absent in a procedure called the “rock cycle.” This provides the rock record fragmentary and an overwhelming to read, but enough rock has been created over time to tell us a lot about the history of our planet.


Igneous rock is created by the cooling that molten rock, one of two people at the surface (lava), or underground (as granite or other comparable rocks). The heat of molten rock commonly incinerates organisms quite than keeping them. There space some exceptions, such together tree trunks surrounded by lava and preserved as casts, however these are rare. 


Metamorphic rock is created when existing absent is revolutionized under high heat and pressure, which typically destroys any fossils the were in the rock prior to it to be metamorphosed. Because that example, marble is developed when limestone is pressure-cooked in ~ the earth, causing the minerals that create the stone to re-form into brand-new crystals.


Sedimentary rock is developed by the buildup of minerals and also other material. Together 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, this layers construct up and also solidify, ending up being sedimentary rock. Organisms can be preserved as fossils if your bodies are buried within these layers.

Interactive Geology ProjectIGP is a group of scientists and animators based in ~ the college of Boulder whose mission is to illustrate basic principles of geology in entertain and accessible ways.

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

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