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Fossils & the Rock Record

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1 Fossils & the Rock Record
Chapter 21 Fossils & the Rock Record

2 Major milestones in life
Crawling, walking, potty training (still in progress?), first day of school, first kiss, first gf/bf, first love/break up, starting high school, driving a car, graduating, full-time job, parenting, retiring Are there any categories into which these events can be placed? Could include infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence, adulthood How do these categories help people communicate and analyze their life histories? - Not everyone reaches the same milestone at the same time. It is using to have references for communicating events

3 21.1 The Rock Record Objectives
Explain why scientists need a geologic time scale Distinguish among eons, eras, periods, and epochs Characterize the groups of plants and animals that dominated eras in Earth’s history Main Idea: Scientists organize geologic time to help them communicate about Earth’s history Unknown vocab: fossil—the remains, trace, or imprint of a once-living plant or animal

4 Organizing Time Some of these layers contain fossils
These multicolored layers of rock are called strata Some of these layers contain fossils By studying such rock layers and the fossils within them, geologists can reconstruct aspects of Earth’s history and interpret ancient environments To help in the analysis of Earth’s rocks, geologists have divided history of Earth into time units Based largely on the fossils contained within the rocks Time units are part of the geologic time scale—a record of Earth’s history from its origin (4.6 bya) to the present) Some units have remain unchanged for centuries, while others have been reorganized based on new evidence

5 Geologists organize Earth’s history according to grouping called eons
Each eon contains era, which contain periods, which contain periods, which contain epochs E + P = EP

6 Geologic Time Scale Enables scientists to find relationships among geological events, env. conditions, and fossilized life-forms preserved in rock record Eons: Largest of time units and contains all other units of time Consist of Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic, and Phanerozoic Eons 3 earliest eons make up 90% of geologic time, known as Precambrian During Precambrian, Earth was formed and became hospitable to modern life Simple life-forms began in Archean Eon and that by end of Proterozoic Eon, life had evolved to point that some organisms might have been able to move in complex ways

7 Precambrian Most fossils from this eon were soft-bodied organisms
Others had bodies with rigid parts All life-forms had soft bodies without shells or skeletons Era time units are defined by the different life forms found in the rocks Some periods are named for the geographic region in which the rocks or fossils characterizing the age were first observed and described

8 Eras, Periods, & Epochs Eras Periods Epochs
All eons made up of eras—next largest unit of time Usually tens to hundreds of millions of years Periods All eras divided into periods Generally tens of millions of years in duration Epochs All periods are divided into epochs Generally hundreds of thousands to millions of years in duration Rocks & sediments from epochs of Cenozoic Era are most complete due to less time for weathering & erosion to remove evidence

9 Succession of life-forms
During Phanerozoic Eon, multicellular life began to diversify First era of this eon—Paleozoic—oceans became full of many different kinds of organisms Small, segmented animals called trilobites were among first hard-shelled life-forms Dominated oceans in early part of Paleozoic Era Land plants appeared later, followed by land animals End of Paleozoic is marked by largest mass extinction event in Earth’s history During a mass extinction, many groups of organism disappear from rock record at about same time At the end of the Paleozoic, 90% of all marine organisms became extinct

10 Conditions toward end of Paleozoic era
Pangea had been in its final stages of formation Conditions became dry on Pangea Even though ocean covered most of Earth, Pangea was so big that the interior did not benefit from the ocean waters Swamp lands dried up—so many plants died out as well as amphibians that depended on the swamps other theories include Increased volcanic activity Comets/meteors Whatever the cause, life on Earth would never again look as it had during the Paleozoic Era

11 Age of dinosaurs Followed the Permian extinction
Era known as the Mesozoic Large predatory reptiles and corals in the oceans also appeared during this era Mammals continued to evolve and diversify Flowering plants & trees emerged as well End of the Mesozoic is marked by a large extinction that eliminated many groups of organisms—including the non-avian dinosaurs and large marine reptiles

12 Rise of mammals Era the followed the Mesozoic—known as the Cenozoic
Mammals increased in both number & diversity 1st primates, emerged in epoch called the Paleocene Modern humans appeared in the Pleistocene Epoch

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