The fossils are the remains or traces of ancient organisms (animals and plants) that have been preserved over the years through natural processes.
The remains of more than 11,000 years ago are considered fossil. That is, in the Holocene geological era of the Cenozoic era that began after the last ice age, about 11.5 thousand years ago and that extends to the present.
The study of fossils deepened in the mid-eighteenth century, although the Greek philosopher Xenophanes already used fossils in his analyzes.
The oldest fossils found on planet Earth are approximately 3.8 billion years old.
Important features of fossils :
- For an object to be considered fossil, it must be more than 11,000 years old .
- Fossils less than 11,000 years old are classified as subfossil .
- They are formed in sedimentary areas .
- They can be found in rocks , sap , layers of the earth , in ice and in the bark of trees .
- The traces and marks left by an animal are also considered as fossils.
- The teeth and bones (fossil hard parts) are more conserved over time.
- They are generally vertebrate animals .
Importance of fossils
Through the study of fossils we can better know the history of the planet in ancient times , identified by the remains that marked a particular time.
A notable example is the fossils found in dinosaurs, since if they were not studied we would never know that these giant reptiles lived on the planet long before the human race inhabited it.
Another example is the mammoth fossils, which became extinct more than 10,000 years ago and are still being studied by researchers today.
Thus, fossils are the most concrete evidence of the existence of life on the planet, being an important study tool among biologists, archaeologists, paleontologists and geologists . They reveal the transformations that have occurred in living beings and on the planet over the years.
For this and other reasons, fossil conservation reveals great historical importance for the study of the evolution of life.
The work of encounter with the fossils is carried out by the paleontologist, through the excavation of a deposit and the collection of the material.
Today, it is possible to find many fossils in several natural history museums around the world.
The Paleontology is the name of science that studies fossils and paleontologist is professional in the field.
The so-called Paleozoology is a branch of Paleontology that studies animal fossils.
From Latin, the term fossil ( fossilis ) is related to the verb “dig” ( fodere ), which means “extracted by excavation.”