Classlecture2

Classlecture2 - Fossils The present is the key to...

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Fossils The present is the key to understanding the Past!
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Fossils Study of earth history based on fossils A study of fossil remains indicates that life forms on earth "have evolved from relatively simple to complex hierarchies of plants and animals" Used by Darwin (and others) in the formation of the theory of evolution
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Fossils Their true meaning, however, hasn't always been recognized Avicenna (980-1037) - a disciple of Aristotle: they grow within the rocks and resemble bones and plants only by chance Dogma of the middle ages: They were created by Satan to confuse us
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William Strata Smith William Smith (1769-1839) - English canal builder spent 24 years mapping canal routes and observing the rocks. First established the relationship between stratified rocks and the fossils they contain. He then published the first geological map in 1815 Failed to recognize the evolutionary significance of the fossils to him they were essentially just distinctive shapes which allowed him to assign relative orders to the rock units in the area
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What is a Fossil? The remains of an animal or plant preserved in a rock; it can be either a cast, impression, or trace. The word "fossil" comes from the Latin word "fossilis" which means "dug up."
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The Age of Fossils The oldest unmistakable fossils are about 3.8 billion years old. Multi-cellular organisms did not appear in the fossil record until approximately 650 million years ago. Animals with hard body parts (skeletons) appear about 580 million years ago.
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Conditions of Fossilization The animal or plant could be buried rapidly in sand, mud, or volcanic ash to protect it from the elements, air, water, and scavengers. The animal or plant could be buried very slowly in the ocean as a result of fine-grained sedimentation. It must be safe from groundwater, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Must be exposed and discovered prior to being destroyed by current environmental factors.
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Catastrophic Events Mudflows
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Catastrophic Events Debris Flow
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Catastrophic Events Slumps
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Catastrophic Events Landslides
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Burgess Shale Located in the Rocky Mountains in British
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Classlecture2 - Fossils The present is the key to...

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