Do you know what is a fossil? Let’s know about it. Fossils are any remains of a once living plant or animal those have been preserved by a variety of ways. The trace may be in the form of a complete animal such as the mammoths which were found by Russian scientists frozen into the ice of Siberia.
What is a fossil
It was said that the meat on the animals was still fresh enough to eat, and indeed Russian geologists were supposed to have dined on mammoth steaks. This form of preservation is very unusual. A more likely way is for the hard parts of the animal to e preserved as a fossil.
The fossil is formed when the animal dies because the hard parts are buried by sediments which in turn become compacted into rock, leaving the fossil contained within. Insects have commonly been found preserved in amber which is fossil tree sap. The sap probably ran down the trunk of the tree trapping the insect so that when the sap hardened into the beautiful yellowish brown amber it was preserved complete.
Plants may be found preserved a black traces, particularly in rocks called shale. You may find traces of leaves and stems in this way.
More recently it has been discovered that the pollen which all flowering plants release for fertilizing their seeds has been preserved in quite large amounts.
In fact, the science of palynology (the study of fossil pollen) as it is called, has become very important in the search for oil.
Animal trails may also become fossils. Trails of worms moving along the sea bed have been found which have become ‘frozen’ into what has become a rock. Footprints of the long dead dinosaurs are not unusual.
In the same way the modern chickens eat grit and retain it in their crops to aid digestion, dinosaurs swallowed quite large stones and they can be recognized by scientists called paleontologists, who study all forms of life in former geological periods through fossils.
Which fossils are you most likely to find?
The animal kingdom is divided into those animals which have backbones, vertebrates, and those animals which do into have backbones, invertebrates. In terms of the numbers of animals which have ever lived throughout the history of the Earth, the invertebrates are much more common.
Many invertebrates had external shells made of chalk-like materials to protect them. Others had internal skeletons skeletons mad of similar substances.
We mentioned in the previous question that it was usually the hard parts of animals that were preserved.
Therefore, you are most likely to find fossils of animals which were numerically common, widely distributed, possessed hard parts, and which lived in conditions suitable for their preservation. In other words you are most likely to find fossil invertebrates.
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