So you need to know a little bit about fossils? Well, the two most important things you should know about fossils is:
1.How they are formed and preserved
2.What they are used for
How are fossils formed?
The process of fossil formation can sometimes be tricky. There are certain things that need to happen for a fossil to actual form and be preserved. Let’s take a look at the process and some different ways that they can be preserved.
•Naturally the first step in fossilization is death. Whether or not the fossil is preserved is largely dependent on the environmental conditions. Fossilization occurs best if the plant or animal are near water. This will help it from decomposing completely. As a potential fossil hunter this is important information to know; now you have a starting place!
•Next the organism needs to be buried in the sand, dirt, or clay; depending on where the plant or animal died. This is call sedimentation.
•Fossil formation is the last step and the most exciting. As the plant or animal exoskeleton is pushed further and further into the earth, it will soon turn into a hard rock. This is where it will stay until a fossil hunter, geologist, archeologist, or you discover it.
So now that you have had a short synopsis on how the fossil is formed let’s take a look at some different preservation methods. As you may already know, fossils are found in many different places, and many different forms. Here is a list of some of the most common ones:
•Amber- This is more commonly known to people as the tree sap method. When an insect lands on a tree with sap on it, it naturally gets stuck and dies. As the tree begins to die and falls to the earth once more, the insect foes with it and the sap turns to amber. This is how it is preserved for so long.
•Mummification- just as it was done in ancient Egypt and just as it sounds. One can preserve fossil for thousands of years by using mummification.
•Refrigeration- This method is perhaps the best way of preserving a fossil. Just like you can keep food in a freezer for months at a time, a fossil can be preserved for decades if kept frozen. There are however certain requirements to this particular method in that it must be kept frozen from the time it dies until it is found. Many fossils were discovered during (what is referred to now as) the ice age.
•Carbonation- as plants and animal die, they leave behind their carbon which can sometimes create impressions in rocks; thus forming a fossil.
What can we use all these terrific discoveries for now that we know how and where to find them? Well, there are a number of uses for fossils, the three most common among us today are:
•Fossil Fuel- everyone’s heard the word, may not understand its meaning. Simply, there are natural resources, oil, gas, and coal that can be found the layers of the earth. As geologists use microfossils to help determine age and relationship of rock layers, they then use those findings to locate the natural resources.
•Medicine- there is many fossil findings that are being used in modern medicine today. In American, clays and calcite for medical purposes, while other countries use mineral fossils for pharmaceutical purposes.
•Collecting- there are a number of museums and universities that have fossil exhibits, and a large number of private collectors that keep their treasure within their own homes.
Hopefully in your quest to finding out a little more about fossils this will provide you with some of the things you should know about them.