|Geology 105 - Paleontology|
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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.|
Kingdom, Phylum (plural, phyla), Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species
1. How do fossils form?
A. What are the processes of fossilization?
permineralization recrystallization replacement carbonization impressions trace
B. What are the conditions that lead to fossilization?
Evidence of the organism must escape biological destruction.
- What kinds of biological agents destroy evidence or organisms?
- What key factors limit biological destruction?
Evidence of the organism must survive mechanical destruction.
- What environmental agents destroy evidence of organisms?
- What sedimentary environments are the best for preserving fossils?
- What sedimentary environments are the worst for preserving fossils?
Evidence of the organism must survive chemical destruction.
- What factors are the most important in determining whether a fossil survives diagenesis?
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?