The background of life on our planet is a long and winding path. Lot of what we know around how life has evolved originates from fossils. The physical continues to be of organisms and also the proof of behaviors, such as footprints, tell united state where, how, and also who ancient life was. Uncovering the fossil record requires scientists with countless different locations of expertise, consisting of geology. Understanding geology is vital to researching paleontology due to the fact that fossils are kept in rock. The features of the rocks that organize fossils have the right to be as informative as the fossils themselves.

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There are three main species of rock: igneous rock, metamorphic rock, and sedimentary rock. Almost every fossils are kept in sedimentary rock.

Organisms the live in topographically low areas (such together lakes or s basins) have the ideal chance of being preserved. This is due to the fact that they are currently in locations where sediment is most likely to bury them and shelter them from scavengers and also decay. Mudstone, shale, and limestone are instances of sedimentary rock likely to contain fossils. As the layers of sediment construct up on height of one another, they produce a physics timeline. The earliest layers, along with the organisms the were fossilized together they formed, are deepest. The youngest layers are found at the top. Analysis the layers is complex by the truth that as continents move and mountains rise, the class are regularly tipped sideways and altered in other ways.

Throughout the earth"s history, each of the three rock varieties has been repetitively formed and recycled into other types of absent in a procedure called the “rock cycle.” This provides the rock document fragmentary and difficult to read, however enough rock has been developed over time to tell united state a lot about the history of our planet.


Igneous rock is formed by the cooling of molten rock, one of two people at the surface (lava), or underground (as granite or other similar rocks). The warm of molten rock normally incinerates organisms quite than maintaining them. There are some exceptions, such together tree trunks surrounding by lava and preserved together casts, however these are rare. 


Metamorphic rock is formed when existing absent is reinvented under high heat and also pressure, which normally destroys any kind of fossils the were in the rock before it to be metamorphosed. Because that example, marble is produced when limestone is pressure-cooked in ~ the earth, resulting in the mineral that compose the rock to re-form into new crystals.


Sedimentary rock is created by the accumulation of minerals and other material. As rocks in ~ the earth"s surface ar are broken down, or “weathered,” the sediment is moved by forces such together water and wind and also deposited somewhere else in layers. End time, these layers develop up and also solidify, becoming sedimentary rock. Organisms have the right to be kept 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 who mission is come illustrate simple principles that geology in to chat and easily accessible ways.

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A Brief background of through TimeThis 25-minute movie illustrates the geologic development of with time.

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