Whats with Fossilization?

Lakota Gillis

Level 1 Questions

What is Fossilization?

Fossilization is the process of a living organisms remains being preserved in a petrified state. The fossilization process is called taphonomy. Each fossilization process is different, some involve freezing an animal and others involve fossil mummies. No matter how it happens though the organism is always preserved in a petrified state.

Who Studies Fossils and Fossilization?

Paleontologists are scientists that study fossils, fossilization and forms of life that existed in another time period. Their research also includes discovering the relationships between extinct animals, plants and other living organisms. By studying fossils the paleontologists can put together pieces of history and discover what the earth was like millions of years ago almost like a puzzle. They use tools like rock picks, chipping hammers, sledge hammers and chisels to help them dig and uncover fossils.

Level 2 Questions

Why don't all Dead Organisms turn into Fossils?

Most dead organisms don't turn into fossils instead they are usually eaten away by carnivores, fungus and bacteria. For an organism to become a fossil it has to be in some way preserved from decay. Fossilization often happens on animals with hard bones and shells not on animals like slugs and snails. This process only happens under certain circumstances, the bones have to be hard enough, it has to decompose fast enough and the body has to be some what by or around water for a better chance that it will be buried under sediments.

What is the Process of making a Fossil?

The process of making a fossil starts with the animal and/or living organism dieing. Once the organism has died the fossilization process starts. There are multiple fossilization processes that the dead organism could go through some of them include freezing, drying, amber and permineralization. Each process however involves sediments that break down the dead animal, plant or insect. The best place an animal has to becoming a fossil would be near or around water. This way the remains can be buried by the water speeding up the fossilization process because the mud, rock and sediments can get to the body or plant faster. There at the bottom of an ocean and/or lake the organism will be compressed for millions of years until erosion and uplift brings it to the surface.
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Level 3 Questions

How Can Fossils Predict the Biological Future of Earth?

Between the years 2011-2013 a group of scientists got together to study fossils of marine life that went extinct millions of years ago that offered evidence that species today are at risk. These fossils also offered hot spots to where the extinction risk was greatest. The scientists also studied the fossil records from the past 23 million years (the time period closest to Earth today) to map out the marine extinctions that involved human and non human actions to understand the baseline of extinction in the ocean. Through their studies they discovered something called "range size". A "range size" is an area of which a certain species can be found, the "range size" can determine an extinction risk for an animal. For our human race we have a fairly large "range space" as we are found almost everywhere on the planet. For marine life it varies greatly as scientists discovered that the species with smaller "range sizes" have a more vulnerable chance of extinction. Another thing that was discovered through this research was that different types of biological life all have different ways they can go extinct. For example, coral can withstand difficult conditions while whales and dolphins are more prone to tough conditions like infection. In the end to answer my question fossils can help us figure out why a certain species went extinct in the past and how we can fix that problem in the future.

Biological Life

Music (Extra)

This is a song a found while researching. Thought I could add it in for something extra.

Lakota Gillis

Paleontologist For Hire. Professional and knows what shes doing.


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