What the Fossil record Really Proves.
(m1c-Keichousaurus Hue) Photo credit: National Park Service
The Fossils, although not ancient peoples, are definitely of the ancients. Interestingly, many of the fossils beds are associated with the remains of ancient people. Therefore, because of the association of proximity in time and place, I find this ancients gallery to be a perfect gallery to include the fossils.
Too, what can a person learn from a study of the fossil record. Does it agree with the theory of evolution? Or, does it in fact, prove the creation by God.
What is a Fossil?
The word fossils is from Latin fossilis which means obtained by digging. Fossils are the preserved trace remains of animals, plants and other organisms from the remote past. The totality of fossils, both discovered and undiscovered and their placement in fossil-containing rock formations (fossiliferous) and sedimentary layers (strata) is known as the fossil record.
A fossil bed is a common term for a layer of identifiable fossiliferous material preserved in sedimentary rocks, buried by deposits and revealed only when denuded by wind, rain, or excavation.
The study of the fossil record is called Paleontology and this study lies on the border between biology and geology, but because it excludes the study of humans, departs from archaeology.
How are Fossils made?
The process of fossilization that occurs when an organism is buried is called permineralization. The empty spaces within an organism that are normally filled with liquid or gas while living become filled with mineral-rich groundwater. The groundwater then separates from the minerals, usually by evaporation allowing the minerals to completely fill these spaces. This process can occur in very small spaces, such as within the cell wall of a plant cell. The smaller the scale of the permineralization, the more detailed the fossils become.
For this process to occur, the organism must become covered by sediment soon after death or soon after the initial decay process. The degree to which the remains are decayed when covered determines the later details of the fossil. Some fossils consist only of skeletal remains or teeth while other fossils contain traces of skin, feathers or even soft tissues.
This is a form of diagenesis which is the sum of the physical, chemical, and biological changes that take place in sediments as they become consolidated into rocks, including compaction and cementation, but excluding weathering.