Fossil Record

Download PDF

Meaning of Fossil

Bookmark added to your notes.
View Notes

The preserved remains, which belong to the traces of the remains, of ancient organisms are called fossils. Fossils are rocks in reality. 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

A fossil can well preserve an entire organism chain or just one among the many. Bones, feathers, shells, and leaves come under the category of fossils. 

Fossils can be of varied sizes. While the microfossils are only visible with a microscope. The bacteria and pollen are examples of microfossils. Macrofossils are many meters long and can weigh tons. Macrofossils are actually petrified trees or dinosaur bones. While, a fossil record is a group of fossils that study, analyzed, and then arranged chronologically and in their taxonomic order.

Fossil Record 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

A fossil record is a collection of fossils that are being analyzed and they are arranged chronologically and in their taxonomic order. These fossils are created when the ancient organisms died, then their remains were in dirt and rock, while after which they got slowly replaced by minerals over the time period. After this, the leftover is a mineral impression that is of an animal that once existed long years ago.

Historians and Palaeontologists come to study these fossils in a geological manner, after this, they arrange the fossils including their comparative anatomy and analysis of DNA. The specialists use the data from the fossil record. While the scientist tries to recreate phylogenies, they describe the relationships between the animals, which are both alive and extinct. This fossil record informs how the varied groups of animals were related through the evolution of time.

Fossil Evolution 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

The Fossil Evolution and records studied as Evidence for Evolution, tell us when the ancient organisms lived, as well as these studies provided evidence for the progression and the evolution of life on this planet earth which is over millions of years.

What do These Fossils Tell Us?

Fossils are the preservatories of the remains or the traces of animals, plants, and other organisms which originated in the past. The fossils range approximately from 10,000 to 3.48 billion years old. The observation for which certain fossils were associated with certain rock strata led to the 19th-century geologists that are to recognize a geological timescale in this study. The organisms varied in shape and sizes, likewise, the fossils vary in size from microscopic, single-celled bacteria, to gigantic, like the dinosaurs and huge trees.

Human Fossil Record

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

The bones of two early humans were found in the year 1967 near Kibish, a place in Ethiopia, these bones were thought to be 130,000 years old. While, a few years ago, the researchers found 154,000- to 160,000-year-old human bones at Herto, another place in Ethiopia. Recently, a new study of the 1967 fossil site indicated that the earliest known members of our species were the Homo sapiens, who roamed in the continent of Africa about 195,000 years ago.

A famous paleontologists, Brown says that pushing the emergence of the Homo sapiens from about 160,000 years ago back to approximate about 195,000 years ago "is significant because the cultural aspects of humanity in most cases appear much later in the record – only 50,000 years ago – which would mean 150,000 years of Homo sapiens without cultural stuff, such as evidence of eating fish, of harpoons, anything to do with music (flutes and that sort of thing), needles, even tools. This stuff all comes in very late, except for stone knife blades, which appeared between 50,000 and 200,000 years ago, depending on whom you believe."

Broomistega and Thrinaxodon Fossil 

X-ray imaging in ESRF revealed a palaeontological record of a mammal-like reptile, known as the Thrinaxodon which nestled together with its primary aquatic amphibian, called the Broomistega. The fossils were found joined together in the burrow of a mammal which was more than 250 million years ago.

Oldest Insect Fossil 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

Rhyniognatha hirsti is the oldest insect fossil. The Devonian Rhyniognatha hirsti is estimated at 396-407 million years old. This species had the dicondylic mandibles, which is a feature that is associated with the winged insects, this also suggests that the wings may already have evolved at this time.

Broomistega Fossil 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

Broomistega fossil is an extinct species of the amphibian family Rhinaesuchidae. 

In the year 2013, a skeleton of the Broomistega was discovered with the skeleton of the cynodont Thrinaxodon which is a relative mammal in a burrow. The individual who probably entered the burrow in the cynodont was in dormancy and then afterwards it was filled the burrow with sediment in order to preserve both the bodies together.

Fossil Record and Evolution

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

The Fossils also provide other solid evidence about the organisms from the past, that they are not the same as those found today, the fossils show another progression of evolution as well. The fossils, with the comparative anatomy of the recent day organisms, includes the morphological, or the anatomical, record. This can be compared by their anatomies of both the modern as well as extinct species, palaeontologists can study and understand the lineages of these species. This approach is most successful for organisms that have hard body parts, like shells, bones or teeth. 

Fun Facts 

Fossil Record Examples

  • Humans

The human fossil is the best-documented version, this is due in part to the historical contention which has surrounded the debate of its evolution. 

  • Whales

Quite surprising is this, the fossil records of many animals assemble in near completion. The fossil record of whales, for instance, is a set of several well-defined members which leads to modern whales.

  • The Oldest Fossils

When we talk about the fossil that is being recorded on Earth, the record goes back much further. The oldest known rocks which have been analysed are approximately 3.8 billion years old.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What do You Mean by Taxonomic Order?

Ans. This order is a rank that is used in the study of biological taxonomy. Each of the order is split into their families. While there are many orders in each class, a group of closely related families forms order in this family. The similar characters are very less in number as compared to the varied genera which are being included in the family.

A taxonomic rank is used in the classification of any organisms and they are being recognized by their nomenclature codes. The well-known ranks are placed in the descending order are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and the species, with order fitting in between the class and family.

2. Who are Home Sapiens?

Ans. Homo sapiens, Latin meaning is the “wise man”, are the species under which all the modern human beings come. Homo Sapiens is one among the other several species who are grouped under genus Homo, they are only one species that did not become extinct.  

3. Why are Fossil Records Important?

Ans. The fossil record greatly helps the palaeontologists, archaeologists, and geologists to place an important event and other species in an appropriate geologic period.