Dr Abe V Rotor
Indeed fossils are nature's geologic timepieces; they take us thousands, if not millions of years back. Didn't Charles Darwin gauge the stages of evolution of plants and animals through paleontology - the science of the study of fossils?
At first I didn't see it, until the tides left it in shallow water. It is a fossil of a very big staghorn coral, its base cut like the anther of a deer after the mating season. So clean did it appear I can count the number of years the coral lived. But that is deceiving because corals grow very slow. It takes fifty long years to grow to the size of a man's head. Each ring therefore, is compounded with other rings, making it difficult to tell the exact age of the fossil. A clear break may be an indication of an extreme condition of the environment that left such mark.
Around the fossil are many fossils of small organisms, other corals and shells. Fossils are known by their total age by combining the age of the fossil itself and the age of the surrounding rock.
How do fossils retain their form and structure even to the detail? Well, calcium carbonate seeps into the cells, and tissues, and in this particular case, into the fine structures like pores of the coral skeleton where the compound solidifies hard - harder than the mold itself. It's a skeleton in a skeleton, so to speak. Through hundreds or thousand of years the mold disintegrates leaving behind the hardened calcium compound. The process is also the same in wood turning into rock - petrified rock.
Petrified wood is actually rock which bears the exact likeness of the original wood. The species can be traced to present specimens.
fossils we simply call skeletons, or artifacts if they did not directly come from living things. Fossils are always in the making. There is no ceasing since the appearance of life on earth, and ever expanding with increasing biodiversity of the living world.
They are the remains of living things that survive time and circumstances, and of luck or fate as people put it. The older and better preserved fossils are, the more significant is the discovery - and the more we realize the secrets they reveal. Scientists reconstruct fossils close to their original form and virtual reality, complete with the organism's movements, sounds, habitat, special effects included. Thanks to advanced technology and fine arts.
Toys are then patterned after these reconstructed fossils. I know of children who grew up with collections of dinosaurs, birds, mammals, fish- all reconstructions from fossils. Many of these children grew into scientists and naturalists. I know of other children who were more interested with toy cartoon characters. They took a different career path, less meaningful and fulfilling than that of the latter children.
Geologic time is not constant though it may be contiguum. There are intervening factors we may not and never know. And if this were the case, we say, we have yet to discover the "missing link." Such was the predicament of
Do you like to be a fossil hunter, too? ~