Fossil can be defined as the preserved remains of an ancient plant or animal. The term fossil has been derived from the Latin word ‘fossilis’ that means ‘dug up’. The branch of biology that includes the study of different ancient life forms and their fossils is known as Palaeontology. There are various processes that plants and animals or their parts can be preserved. These small pieces of debris are compressed and buried under layers of sediment that piles up on the top of them. These fossils have the same shape as the original object but chemically they are more like a rock.
Quick Facts: –
- Plants can be preserved with a carbon film on a piece of shale.
- Generally fossils form in only sedimentary rock.
- Originally, most of the fossils are of marine creatures or are land animals that fell into a water body.
- Preservation methods can vary. There are a lot of them.
- These records can provide a lot of information about an organism like its physical structure, appearance, age and many more things.
- The fossil of a bone does not have a bone in it. It gets replaced by rock hard materials. This process is called per mineralization.
- A specimen will be considered as a fossil only if it is a few thousand years old.
- The oldest known fossils are Stromatolites.
- The geologic time scale is used by palaeontologists and geologists to document intervals of geologic time.
- The climate and tectonic evolution of the planet can also be provided by fossil records.
- Petrification is one of the many methods of fossil formation. In this, an organism is turned into a stony substance.
- A petrified tree, found in Thailand is the largest single fossil ever found.