Fossil record

Age of the Earth Fossils provide a unique view into the history of life by showing the forms and features of life in the past.

Fossil record

In this article I will examine an issue that is sometimes thought to be a problem for the theory of evolution: Please note that the previous article is a prerequisite for understanding properly the present one. For example, even when we have every reason to suspect that species A of a kind of squirrels evolved into species B of a different kind of squirrels, we cannot find a smooth transition of fossils from A to B, but a rather abrupt appearance of B at some point in time.

How the gaps are explained by evolution Some people who are typically not biologists think that the gaps in the fossil record present a problem to the theory of evolution, because they do not show a gradual and smooth change of one species changing into another.

Also, Georges Cuvier had supported the theory of catastrophism, a consequence of which concluded that species appear relatively suddenly after catastrophic geological events. This idea, although in line with the Victorian prevailing thought of inherent progress in society, was nonetheless wrong.

The short-lived transitional species, together with some other reasons that will be explained soon, are the cause of the observed gaps in the fossil record.

Fossil record

The original ancestor species is represented by individuals of red color in the above figure. Each individual gives birth to another individual, represented by the next little black line under the colored strip. Each descendant differs from its parent in color in this figure, but in physical traits in realitybut the difference is so tiny that we cannot notice it merely by looking at the parent and the child.

However, looking at a sufficiently distant descendant green color over a long period of time we can see that there is a definite difference red vs. But, as I said, this view is most likely wrong. The following figure seems to be a more accurate representation of reality: The difference in the above figure is that the change is relatively abrupt.

However, the entire colored strip from left red to right green is supposed to have lasted for tens of millions of years, or more.

Thus, the transitional species are represented by a very narrow piece of time on the strip. Therein lies the first reason of the fossil record appearing as having gaps. Because, suppose that you can take a few random snapshots within this time interval, represented by the black vertical lines on the following strip assume each black line is a fossil: In reality, the reader should imagine a much narrower interval of time for transitional species than the one shown above, and a sparser set of fossil snapshots.

Fossilization is an extremely rare event Just because a creature dies does not imply it will become a fossil! Special conditions must be present for fossilization to take place.

For example, favorable conditions include the dead creature being covered by the volcanic ash of a nearby volcano that erupted, or by the mud of a lake or river that flooded. But not all creatures live close to an erupting volcano, or by the banks of a river!

Even then, such conditions do not guarantee the preservation of the creature as a fossil; they only increase the probabilities that fossilization will take place. Lastly, a creature must contain some hard parts, such as bones, to fossilize; bacteria, jellies, worms, and other soft-bodied creatures, generally do not leave fossils behind.

According to Richard Cowen in History of Life the majority of animal species living now are unlikely ever to leave fossils, since they are soft-bodied invertebrates such as worms and slugs.

Fossil record

Consider that of the more than 30 phyla of living animalstwo-thirds of these have never been found as fossils!Buy Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature on FREE SHIPPING on qualified orders/5(32).

I think you will love the goodies at Fossil—so I'm sharing this $10 to spend online or in one of Fossil's stores.

The Fossil Record

And when you shop, I get $10, too! How nice is that? FRED is a computer database for the New Zealand Fossil Record File(FRF). This is a recording scheme for fossil localities in NZ and nearby regions including SE Pacific Islands and the Ross Sea region of Antarctica, and is jointly managed by Geoscience Society of New Zealand and GNS is operated by GNS Science through the FRST National Paleontological Databases Programme, with the.

In Dr.

Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ: Part 2C

Raul Esperante teamed up with Dr. Leonard Brand and others to investigate fossil whales within the Pisco Formation of Peru's Atacama Desert. Cyanobacteria: Fossil Record. The cyanobacteria have an extensive fossil record. The oldest known fossils, in fact, are cyanobacteria from Archaean rocks of western Australia, dated billion years old.

This may be somewhat surprising, since the oldest rocks are only a little older: billion years old!. Cyanobacteria are among the easiest microfossils to recognize. The standard approach to looking at fossils in the geological column is to assume that lower is older.

Since the geologic column represents millions of years of Earth's history, then obviously the fossils in each of the layers must be the same age as the layer in which they are found.

What is especially interesting is that the fossils do appear to show a progression from the most "simple" of.

Fossil Record of the Bacteria