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Fossil Evidence for Evolution. Fossil: any preserved trace left by an organism -E.g. footprints, burrows, faeces, bones shells, teeth, impressions of.

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Presentation on theme: "Fossil Evidence for Evolution. Fossil: any preserved trace left by an organism -E.g. footprints, burrows, faeces, bones shells, teeth, impressions of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fossil Evidence for Evolution

2 Fossil: any preserved trace left by an organism -E.g. footprints, burrows, faeces, bones shells, teeth, impressions of an organism Artefacts: objects deliberately made by humans -E.g stone tools, beads, carvings, charcoal from cooking, cave paintings Fossil Formation Generally organisms are decayed by other micro organisms Organisms may be fossilized if its buried rapidly by drifting sand, mud deposited by rivers, volcanic ash, and intentional burial. Wet, acidic soil minerals in bone are dissolved No O 2, (peat) preservation of soft tissue and bones may occur. Alkaline soils are ideal petrification occurs: new minerals (lime/iron oxide) are deposited in pores of bone, replacing organic matter becoming a rock.

3 Four conditions are required for fossilization to occur: -Rapid burial -Presence of hard body parts -Absence of decay organisms -Long period of stability

4 Fossil Discovery sometimes found by chance(due to erosion) but generally result of excavation surface discoveries often lead to excavations Steps: -Area surveyed and sectioned -Small hand tools to gently remove soil -Removed soil is sieved -Photographs taken at every stage -Items retrieved are labeled and catalogued -In lab, fossils are scraped clean and repaired -Plaster casts/latex moulds are made

5 Fossil Dating Absolute dating: actual age of specimen in years Relative dating: age relative to other fossils (older or younger) BP: Before Present

6 Absolute Dating Potassium-Argon Dating Dating of a rock sample (assuming there is a fossil in/near the rock of the same age) Decay of K Ca + Ar Isotopes of Potassium are K-39, k-40, K-41. (diff number of neutrons, same protons) K-40 is radioactive and decays into Ar-40 + Ca-40. Decay is slow but constant Comparing K-40 to Ar-40 can provide an age for a rock. Used to date rocks 100,000 years and above Dates before 100,000 produce to little Ar-40 (0.0053%) Half life: time taken for any given quantity of a radioactive substance to half K Ar Half life = 1.25 x 10 9 years. (1,250,000,000)

7 Absolute Dating Carbon-14 / Radiocarbon Dating Dating of actual organic sample (must contain Carbon) Requires minimum of 3g organic material Used on samples up to 60,000 years old Decay of radioisotope C-14 into Nitrogen C-14 is produced in upper atmosphere by cosmic radiation converting it from Nitrogen. -In atmosphere ratio of C-14 to C-12 is 1: (one trillion) -Green plants use atmospheric CO 2 to photosynthesise, ratio is maintained -When animal eats plant, ratio is maintained -Animal dies, C-14 continues to decay Comparing C-14 to C-12 can provide an age for a sample.

8 Absolute Dating Carbon-14 / Radiocarbon Dating

9 Absolute Dating Carbon-14 / Radiocarbon Dating Half life: time taken for any given quantity of a radioactive substance to half Ratio between C-14 to C-12 is 1:10 12 Ratio decline to 0.5:10 12 after years. Ratio of N-14 to C-14 in atmosphere appears to fluctuate so results may vary

10 Absolute Dating Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Radio carbon Dating Used on samples as small as 100 micrograms. Breaks sample into atoms so they can be individually accounted for. E.g. cave paintings

11 Absolute Dating Dendrochronology (Tree ring Dating) Each ring on the surface of a cut tree trunk represents one years growth (due to seasonal changes) Width of ring demonstrates how favourable the period of growth was. Living trees can be dated by drilling a small core from the trunk and counting the rings Marker rings: rings which reveal years of exceptional growth Correlation of marker rings allows different samples to be compared and dated. E.g Bristle cone pine (US): living trees dated at over 4500 years old Correlation of marker rings in dead pines date them back as early as 8600 years Used up to 9000 years.

12 Absolute Dating Dendrochronology (Tree ring Dating)

13 Relative Dating Stratigraphy Study of layers (strata) Principle of superposition: layers at the top are younger than those at the bottom Distortions of Earths crust may occur turn layers upside down Specimens may have been deliberately buried (younger than surrounding Earth) Correlation of rock strata: matching layers from different areas Index fossils: fossils which were widely distributed and only existed for a brief period of time

14 Relative Dating Stratigraphy

15 Relative Dating Fossilised pollen grains Indicates amount and type of vegetation existing at specific time. Can be used to support or refute relative dates from other sources Fluorine Dating When bone is left in soil, F - from water, diffuse into bone. (depends on original F - level in soil) Older fossils will contain more Fluorine ions Fossils from same specimen should have similar Fluorine levels.

16 Geological Time scale Eras periods epochs


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