Fossils | Evolution | Middle school biology | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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July 22, 2022
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Fossils | Evolution | Middle school biology | Khan Academy

TL;DR

Fossils are preserved evidence of organisms that lived in the past, found in sedimentary rock. They can be dated using layer analysis or radiometric dating.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What are fossils and how are they formed?

Fossils are preserved evidence of organisms from the past. They are formed when remains or imprints of organisms are covered by sediment, which eventually turns into sedimentary rock, preserving the fossils.

Q: How are fossils dated?

Fossils can be dated using layer analysis or radiometric dating. Layer analysis involves determining the relative age of a fossil by analyzing the rock layers it is found in. Radiometric dating measures the decay of radioactive atoms in fossils to estimate their age.

Q: Why are fossils important?

Fossils serve as time machines, showing us the types of organisms that lived in the past and how life on Earth has changed. They contribute to Earth's Fossil Record, providing a big picture view of the history of life on Earth.

Q: Can anyone find fossils?

Yes, anyone with a keen eye and patience can find fossils. While major discoveries are often made by professional scientists, amateur fossil hunters can also make significant finds with some luck.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Fossils are preserved remains of organisms in the past, such as plants, bones, shells, or footprints, found in sedimentary rock layers.

  • Sedimentary rock is formed from compressed sediment, which consists of rocks, minerals, and organic matter, and gets deposited in layers over millions of years.

  • Fossils are formed when organisms' remains or imprints are covered by sediment and preserved as the sediment turns into rock.

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