Finding fossils

So, if the fossils are buried, how is it that we find them? The answer is really in the luck of geology: if fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks happen to be eroded, and a paleontologist

Figure 1.5. Photograph from Shar-tsav, Gobi Desert, Mongolia, showing the tracks of a medium-sized theropod dinosaur among those of a pack of smaller theropods. Our drawing suggests one interpretation, consistent with the evidence: the trackway could record a pack of Velocwaptm hunting down a single Gallimimus.

Figure 1.5. Photograph from Shar-tsav, Gobi Desert, Mongolia, showing the tracks of a medium-sized theropod dinosaur among those of a pack of smaller theropods. Our drawing suggests one interpretation, consistent with the evidence: the trackway could record a pack of Velocwaptm hunting down a single Gallimimus.

happens to be looking for fossils at the moment that one is actively eroding from a rock, the fossil may be observed and may be collected. Indeed, we may be sure that, throughout their 160 million-year existence on Earth, dinosaurs walked over the exposed fossils of earlier ancestors, now lost to eternity (Figure 1.6)!

Louis Dollo Bernissart
Figure 1.6. A pair of Patasautoiophus walking over some exposed fossilized bones of an earlier dinosaur that are weathering out of cliff. Fragments of the fossilized bone have fallen at the dinosaurs' feet.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment