Fossil Hunt #2

This topic submitted by Theresa Waltner ( at 3:25 PM on 3/24/05.

An octopus tries to hide on a sunny day at the Grotto, San Salvador, Bahamas.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

March 24, 2005
Fossil Hunt #2

1. What is a fossil?
Function: noun
a remnant, impression, or trace of an organism of past geologic ages that has been preserved in the earth's crust.
A. How are fossils made?
The animal dies. The soft fleshy parts deteriorate. The bones and teeth that remain eventually are covered with sediment season after season. The bones and teeth are surrounded by silt and mud begins to turn into stone from the minerals in the sediment. The new rocks containing the bones and teeth are worked up to a dry surface so that they can dry out. Fossil hunters then discover these.
B. How are fossils found?
a. Where is a good place to start looking?
b. What do I need to know to do it right?

2. Why study fossils?
A. Age of the Earth
B. Patterns of Evolution
C. Past Environments

3. What are living fossils?
Function: noun
: an organism (as a horseshoe crab or a ginkgo tree) that has remained essentially unchanged from earlier geologic times and whose close relatives are usually extinct
A. Why arenŐt they dead?
B. How did they survive?

Conclusions: What does this have to do with me? Where does this leave me? What can I do?

Mark Renz (1999) Fossiling in Florida University of Florida Press
T.S. Kemp (1999) Fossils & Evolution Oxford University Press
Clare Milsom and Sue Rigby (2004) Fossils At a Glance Blackwell Publishing Co. Victoria, Austrailia
James Martin (1997) Living Fossils Crown Publishers Inc.
Jan A. Pechenik (2000) Biology of the Invertebrates McGraw-Hill
Doyle, P. (1996) Understanding Fossils. An Introduction on Invertebrate Paleontology. Wiley, Chichester, UK.
Prothereo, D.R. (1998) Bringing Fossils to Life: an Introduction to Paleobiology. W.C.B./McGraw-Hill, New York.

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