The background of life on our world is a long and also winding path. Lot of what us know about how life has evolved comes from fossils. The physical stays of organisms and the evidence of behaviors, such together footprints, tell us where, how, and also who old life was. Uncovering the fossil record requires scientists with numerous different areas of expertise, including geology. Knowledge geology is critical to examining paleontology because fossils are preserved in rock. The qualities of the rocks that hold fossils have the right to be as informative together the fossils themselves.

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There space three main types of rock: igneous rock, metamorphic rock, and sedimentary rock. Almost all fossils are kept in sedimentary rock.

Organisms that live in topographically low places (such together lakes or s basins) have actually the ideal chance of gift preserved. This is since they are already in areas where sediment is most likely to bury them and also shelter them from scavengers and also decay. Mudstone, shale, and also limestone are examples of sedimentary rock likely to contain fossils. Together the class of sediment build up on height of one another, they produce a physical timeline. The oldest layers, along with the organisms that were fossilized as they formed, room deepest. The youngest layers are uncovered at the top. Analysis the class is facility by the reality that together continents move and mountains rise, the layers are regularly tipped sideways and also altered in various other ways.

Throughout the earth"s history, every of the three rock varieties has been continuously formed and recycled into other types of rock in a process called the “rock cycle.” This provides the rock document fragmentary and difficult to read, but enough rock has actually been created over time come tell us a lot about the history of our planet.


Igneous rock is formed by the cooling that molten rock, either at the surface ar (lava), or secret (as granite or other similar rocks). The warm of molten rock generally incinerates organisms fairly than preserving them. There are some exceptions, such as tree trunks surrounded by lava and preserved as casts, but these space rare. 


Metamorphic rock is formed when existing absent is revolutionized under high heat and pressure, which normally destroys any fossils the were in the rock prior to it to be metamorphosed. Because that example, marble is created when limestone is pressure-cooked within the earth, causing the mineral that write the rock to re-form into new crystals.


Sedimentary rock is created by the accumulation of minerals and also other material. Together rocks in ~ the earth"s surface ar are damaged down, or “weathered,” the sediment is moved by pressures such together water and wind and also deposited elsewhere in layers. End time, these layers build up and also solidify, ending up being sedimentary rock. Organisms have the right to be kept as fossils if your bodies are buried within these layers.

Interactive Geology ProjectIGP is a team of scientists and animators based in ~ the university of Boulder whose mission is to illustrate straightforward principles of geology in to chat and available ways.

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

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