Geology 105 - Paleontology
 Course Syllabus  Course Schedule Assignments  Course Handouts  Critter Charts   Department Home Page  Kusnick Home Page


Key to text colors and fonts

Find information in book
Get information in class
Get information in both book and class


Reading: Chapter 3


Skeletal materials - see Fossilization lab


preservation potential - likelihood that an organism will become a fossil
scavenger - organism that eats dead organisms; usually reserved for multicellular organisms
decomposers - organisms that break down dead organisms; essentially very small scavengers
concretions - areas of localized cementation in sedimentary rock, often formed around organic material
biofacies - the total recognizable fossils content of a designated portion of a stratigraphic unit
anoxic - lacking oxygen. Anoxic environments often are deep water, or very still water, or water with a lot of organic material - the oxygen has been used up in decomposition
artifact - an observation that is a product of the observational process, or of something other than the process under observation.

Biological Classification:

Kingdom, Phylum (plural, phyla), Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species


Key Questions:

1. How do fossils form?

A. What are the processes of fossilization?

key terms:



B. What are the conditions that lead to fossilization?

Evidence of the organism must escape biological destruction.



Evidence of the organism must survive mechanical destruction.






Evidence of the organism must survive chemical destruction.


2. How does differential preservation affect the information carried in the fossil record? How does it affect our ability to ask and answer scienctific questions about ancient organisms and communities?

A. What characteristics of organisms increase the probability of fossilization?



B. What characteristics of environments increase the probability of fossilization?

(look at the examples of Lagerstatten. What aspects of the environment allowed such extrordinary preservation?)



C. In a typical fossil assemblage, what information is preserved? What information is lost?




1. Short Answer

2. Essay