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Fossil Record Definition

The fossil record is the collection of fossils in the Earth's crust and their placement in chronological order. For example, it shows how life on Earth has changed over time.

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The Fossil Record

Fun Facts

  • The fossil record provides evidence that past life existed and how some living things evolved from water to land.
  • The fossil record spans millions and millions of years and shows humans are the most complex organisms of all.
  • Scientists look for patterns in the fossil record to make predictions about which organisms descended from others.

Why Do We Need To Know About Fossil Record

Learning about fossils helps us understand how life on Earth has changed over time and why it’s important for scientists. This knowledge is not just about knowing the past but also helps scientists, like paleontologists, study areas with lots of fossils, like Utah.

Fossils are very important in many jobs, such as working in a museum or doing research, where they show and learn from the best examples. They also help us learn big changes in history, like how animals moved from water to land. This shows us how fossils help solve big questions about how life has evolved and tell us about the history of our planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are fossils discovered?
Earth processes like erosion and earthquakes can move sediment from one location to another, often uncovering and exposing fossils. Scientists also concentrate their search efforts in areas that are known to have lots of fossils, like Utah.
How do trace fossils provide evidence of past life?
Trace fossils provide information about how an organism lived, including but not limited to how it moved, what it ate, and where it lived.
How do layers of rock provide information in the fossil record?
Over time, sediment forms layers beneath the Earth’s surface. The deeper fossils are found in the Earth’s crust, the older they are. The closer to the surface fossils are found, the younger they are.
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