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lecture04 - BioEE 278 Evolutionary Biology FOSSIL RECORD I...

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1 BioEE 278 Fall 2007 Evolutionary Biology Lecture 4 FOSSIL RECORD I A. Geological Time Scale 1. Revisit the geological time scale, noting eons (Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic, Phanerozoic), eras (Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic), periods, epochs, etc. 2. Consider an example in which the rocks record a period of earth history and note the types of fossils embedded in those rocks (Grand Canyon). 3. How do we integrate across many stratigraphic columns from independent sites? a. William Smith (early 19th century British engineer, surveyor, canal builder). b. Noted that rocks from different localities contained same unique fossil assemblages. c. Reasoned that rocks with same assemblages had been deposited at same time. d. Reliance on index fossils - abundant fossils with short time range and widespread distribution. B. Fossils as Evidence of Past Life 1. Fossils provide direct evidence about the history of life. a. What sorts of organisms are likely to be preserved? b. What sorts of environments are favorable for preservation? 2. What gets preserved? a. Not all organisms or parts of organisms have equal chance of being preserved b. In animals, soft tissue is only rarely preserved, but hard parts (containing large
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