The background of life ~ above our planet is a long and winding path. Much of what we know about how life has actually 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 many different locations of expertise, consisting of geology. Understanding geology is vital to studying paleontology because fossils are preserved in rock. The features of the rocks that organize fossils can be together informative as the fossils themselves.

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There are three main varieties of rock: igneous rock, metamorphic rock, and also sedimentary rock. Almost every fossils are maintained in sedimentary rock.

Organisms the live in topographically low places (such as lakes or ocean basins) have the ideal chance of gift preserved. This is because they are already in locations where sediment is most likely to ask them and shelter them from scavengers and decay. Mudstone, shale, and also limestone are instances of sedimentary rock most likely to save on computer fossils. As the layers of sediment develop up on height of one another, they create a physics timeline. The earliest layers, in addition to the organisms the were fossilized together they formed, are deepest. The youngest layers are discovered at the top. Analysis the great is complex by the fact that together continents move and also mountains rise, the layers are regularly tipped sideways and also altered in other ways.

Throughout the earth"s history, every of the 3 rock varieties has been repeatedly formed and also recycled right into other species of rock in a procedure called the “rock cycle.” This renders the rock document fragmentary and complicated to read, yet enough rock has been created over time come tell united state a lot about the history of our planet.


Igneous rock is formed by the cooling that molten rock, either at the surface (lava), or underground (as granite or other similar rocks). The heat of molten rock generally incinerates organisms rather than keeping them. There space some exceptions, such together tree trunks surrounding by lava and preserved together casts, but these are rare. 


Metamorphic rock is developed when existing absent is revolutionized under high heat and also pressure, which generally destroys any kind of fossils the were in the rock before it was metamorphosed. Because that example, marble is produced when limestone is pressure-cooked within the earth, causing the mineral that write the rock to re-form into brand-new crystals.


Sedimentary rock is formed by the accumulation of minerals and other material. As rocks at the earth"s surface ar are broken down, or “weathered,” the sediment is relocated by forces such as water and also wind and deposited in other places in layers. Over time, this layers develop up and solidify, ending up being sedimentary rock. Organisms deserve to be maintained as fossils if their bodies are hidden within this layers.

Interactive Geology ProjectIGP is a team of scientists and also animators based in ~ the college of Boulder whose mission is to illustrate an easy principles of geology in to chat and obtainable ways.

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

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