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Anthropology Georgia Perimeter College Studying the Past.

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Presentation on theme: "Anthropology Georgia Perimeter College Studying the Past."— Presentation transcript:

1 Anthropology Georgia Perimeter College Studying the Past

2 - The evidence or remains of a once-living plant or animal. A.To provide evidence of the past existence of life forms. B.To provide information about past environmental conditions. C.To provide evidence that populations have undergone change over time due to environmental changes (evolution). II. Why Do We Study Fossils Found in Rocks? I.What is a Fossil?

3 Taphonomy: The study of what happens to remains from to discovery. Stratigraphy: The study of the order of rock layers and the sequence of events they reflect. Geological Time Scale: Categories of time into which Earths history is usually divided. Some Vocabulary Terms

4 Types of Fossils A.Original Preservation 1.Plant or animal remains that have not undergone change since death. a.Examples: Mummified humans Frozen organisms (Ice Man) Mammoths & cats in La Brea Tar Pits Fossilized insects in tree sap (amber) Otzi the Iceman was found in 1991 in the Otztal Alps between Austria and Italy and his remains date to 5,300 years ago.

5 Bog People of Europe (up to 8,000 bp; 4/bog-bodies-preserved- corpses/ 4/bog-bodies-preserved- corpses/ La Brea tar pits near Los Angeles (up to 38,000 bp; http://www.yout v=teh90FTIKec The Windover Bog People of Florida (up to 7,500 bp) Bog Fossils

6 B.Altered Hard Parts 1.All organic material has been removed and the hard parts of the organism have been changed. a.Minerals seep in slowly and replace the original organic tissue, forming a rock-like fossil. b.The fossil has the same shape as the original object, but is chemically more like a rock! c.Examples: Petrified wood Recrystallized shells The Taung Child: Australopithecus africanus. South Africa 2.5 mya. Discovered in 1924 by Raymond Dart

7 C.Index Fossils – Guide Fossils 1.Remains of unique species that can be used to correlate rock layers or to date a particular rock layer. a.Must be easily recognized, abundant, and widely distributed geographically. b.Must have lived during a relatively short time period. Jurassic Ammonite

8 D.Molds and Casts 1.Fossils that do not contain any shell or bon.e a.A mold is formed when original shell parts are weathered and eroded, leaving an impression of the shell. b.This cavity might later become filled with minerals or sediment to create a cast. c.Examples: Common with shellfish Achaeopteryx

9 E.Trace Fossils 1.Indirect evidence of plant and animal life a.Provide information about how an organism lived, moved or obtained food b.Examples: worm trails burrows footprints Laetoli footprints. Oldest known footprints of human ancestors (Australopi thicus afarenses) dates to 3.6 mya. Found in Tanzania in 1976.

10 Dating Fossils A.Relative-Age Dating: 1.Dating rocks and fossils by placing them in chronological order without exact dates. 2.Geologic Principles (used in this dating process): a.Original Horizontality Sedimentary rocks are deposited in horizontal layers. b.The Law of Superposition in an undisturbed sequence the oldest rocks are at the bottom and each successive layer is younger. c.Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships: an intrusion or a fault is younger than the rock it cuts across.

11 Lithostratigraphy: The study of geologic deposits and their formation, stratigraphic relationships, and relative time relationships based on rock properties. Tephrostratigraphy: A form of lithostratigraphy in which the chemical fingerprint of volcanic ash is used to correlate across regions. Biostratigraphy: Comparison of fossils from different stratigraphic sequences to estimate which layers are older and which are younger. Relative Dating Methods

12 Methods cont.: b.Radioactive Dating: Dating fossils based on the amount of radioactive material remaining in a substance over time: Radioactive substances (unstable atoms) emit protons and neutrons at a constant rate. The original element (parent) is converted to a different element (daughter). Since the rate of decay is constant, you can measure the parent to daughter ratio to determine the age of the rock. The length of time it takes for one-half of the original amount to decay is called the elements half-life.

13 Isotopes: Variant forms of an element that differ based on their atomic weights and numbers. Half-life: The time it takes for half of the original amount of an unstable isotope of an element to decay into more stable forms. Potassium-argon (K-AR) dating: Measures the decay of 40K to 40Ar in potassium-bearing rocks. Estimates the ages of the sediments in which fossils are found. Radiometric Dating - Terms

14 Argon/argon dating (40Ar/39Ar): Allows measurement of a smaller sample than K-AR dating. Fission-Track dating: Dates noncrystaline matierials using the decay or 238Ur and counting the tracks that are produced by this fission.

15 B.Absolute-Age Dating: 1.Dating rocks and fossils by using techniques to determine their actual age. 2.Methods: a.Tree Rings and Seasonal Climatic Changes Each tree ring represents 1 year of growth Varves are bands of sediment that show a yearly cycle from climate change Although accurate, neither method can be used to date very far back in time.

16 Absolute Dating – RadioCarbon Dating

17 Thermoluminescence Dating Thermoluminescence dating is the use of heat on archeological or geological samples to produce a light signal that is proportional to an accumulated radiation dose. It is used to date rocks, minerals and ceramics for dates between approximately 300 to 10,000 B.P. (before present). It is usually used in conjunction with other methods of historical dating, such as carbon 14 or stratigraphy ( Ref: ) Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) Dating Uranium methods

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