Well, a lot of us are fan of Khaleesi on Game of Thrones(GOT) and her fire-exhaling Dragons. It’s then a natural question 🙂 whether there existed creatures who could breathe or exhale fire. And science answers with a big “No” as there’s no evidence. Apparently the Bible thumpers and the wishful imaginative thinking of us! It feels exciting to see those dragons on GOT though!!
I am reading “The Ancestor’s Tale” by RD and within few hours, I have learnt so much about mesmerizing animals with their own features on the planet which survived, diverged, got trapped etc. The jurassic park movie did a great job on Jurassic period, but there’s so much more story in our ancestry and concestry.
I wish there were GOT like fictions based on the animals/creatures that exist, as most of us are not fans of animal planet like channels.
What is this obsession with us with non-existentence when there’s such beauty in the existence? 🤔
Who studies fossils? A Paleontologist. Why do paleontologists study fossils? Because fossil record brings information, provides clues, ideas about climatic changes of the planet, the evolution of geographical changes occurred on earth. For example, plant fossils and pollen fossils have been used to indicate climatic change of earth. To create geologic timescale, scientists have used fossils. We can see the fossil evolution during Paleogene period (over 66 Million years ago) in the image below. You can see the branches and subbranches in the image. The Subbotina trivialis (genus: Subbotina, species: trivialis) is highlighted in red.
Determining the age of fossil is very important and very challenging. Fossils are very often found in rocks and comparing one rock formation with another (relative dating), it’s possible to find a relative age for a fossil. Dating rocks involve calculating the rate of decay of radioactive element such as Carbon-14, Uranium-238, Potassium-40, Aluminium-26, Samarium-147, rubidiam-87, strontium-87. Fossilization is a rare event as there may not be any trace of an organism after its extinction. Therefore the record of an organism as the record of life in a fossil is something very significant to discover. The organism’s physical structure and subsequently deduced information such as it’s environment, diet, life-cycle can be obtained by studying fossils. Trace fossils, or fossilized marks left as a result of the activities of creatures such as trails, footprints, and burrows are also recorded and used as the source of information. From the fossil records throughout geologic time, scientists understood that the evolution of life is not a linear process. Sometimes the process is slow and sometimes it’s exponential. We also discovered that there might be periodicity in mass extinction by studying fossil records. Even the concept of plate tectonics was helped by fossil records. The more I am learning about fossils, the more exciting it’s becoming.