Q:

Why are fossils important?

A:

Quick Answer

Fossils are important in understanding the history of the world because they provide physical evidence of animals and plants that lived in the past. Through their discovery, paleontologists uncover new ideas about former life on earth.

Continue Reading
Why are fossils important?
Credit: Laurence Ireland CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

Fossils are the remains, impressions or traces of organisms that existed millions of years ago. Body fossils are the actual remnants of organisms that have been naturally preserved, such as bones, teeth, scales, shells and skeletons. Usually, fossils are preserved in sedimentary rock and bodies of water.

Paleontologists also find trace fossils, which are indirect signs of an organism's existence. An example of a trace fossil is a footprint or mark in the sediment, suggesting the movement pattern of organisms.

Through fossils, paleontologists have uncovered information about the anatomy and behavior of organisms, evolution of life and habitat development. The earliest fossils are believed to be of marine mammals from the Precambrian era.

Learn more about Anthropology

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does a paleontologist do?

    A:

    Palaeontologists locate, collect and study fossils, according to the Falls of the Ohio State Park. Palaeontologists also record the history of life on Earth, ranging from the smallest bacteria to massive dinosaurs.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the principle of fossil succession?

    A:

    The principle of fossil succession states that groups of fossils appear in a chronological order through their vertical placement in sedimentary rocks. In the same way that the oldest rocks are found in the bottom layer of the earth, the oldest fossils also followed the same chronology as they appear in the same set of rock layers, or strata.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is an important characteristic of an index fossil?

    A:

    Index fossils have several important characteristics, such as wide geographic abundance, easy identification and a relatively short geological existence. These characteristics make the fossils useful for identifying the age of the geologic formations where they are found.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do people live in the rainforest?

    A:

    About 50 million tribal people live in rainforests in different parts of the world. Indigenous people have lived there for thousands of years and have organized their daily lives as their ancestors had done. Their food, medicine, shelter and clothing all come from the forests, and they have a distinctive language and a different set of tradition and culture, according to AdventureLife.com.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore