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Questions tagged [paleontology]

Paleontology (also Palaeontology) is the scientific study of past life. Questions about the biological aspect of paleontology (such as taxonomy and anatomy) are off-topic here and should be asked on biology.stackexchange.com

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Asking about type Fossil [closed]

Can any one help me to identify this type of fossil ? Its dolomite limestone
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Cleaning fossil samples with acetone

Can I clean fossil samples with acetone, or will this damage them?
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In what way does the orientation of fossils help? What can we infer from that?

Randomly oriented fossils may indicate an autochthonous deposit whereas parallelly oriented fossils indicate directionality of flow. How?
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Why are Lomekwian tools considered different from Oldowan tools?

I just read this short article from Scientific American: Archaeologists Take Wrong Turn, Find World's Oldest Stone Tools about Sonia Harmand's discoveries. The last sentence is: Harmand says the ...
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How to be involved in paleontolgy as a non-earth scientist

I want to be involved in paleontology or archaeology but I don't intend to go back to school for either. I am aware of some opprotunities to volunteer on field studies but am hoping for more resources....
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What type of mammal does this fossil tooth belong to?

The fossil tooth was found western South Dakota in the early 1980s. I can't be sure on the location. It might have been collected from Belle Reservoir, near Belle Fourche, Butte County, South Dakota, ...
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Why are many fossils found in deserts?

Why are deserts famous for fossils? Is it a coincidence? Some examples: Giant Catfish Fossil Found in Egyptian Desert Chile's stunning fossil whale graveyard explained Giant Dinosaur Fossil Found ...
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How were smaller reptiles/mammals more successful at surviving the KT event than larger dinosaurs?

Last night, I was watching this programme on TV The Real T Rex where the presenter pointed out that smaller reptiles (crocodilians and mammals) "somehow managed" to survive the KT extinction event ...
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What is Oligo-Miocene radiation?

Some studies about Earth's fosilized plants/animals mention a "Oligo-Miocene radiation". Examples: Our study therefore strengthens previous suggestions that the absence of very large penguins ...
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Can someone provide a map of Nazca lines with this image in it?

I found this image of a bird with another image below its right wing on google earth in nazca peru. Is there any maps or infomation available that can help me identify this one? Kind regards Jeff B.
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What are some regions where land-living island animals have left fossil records within the sea, of the coast of the island?

What are some examples of fossil sites where land-living fossils end up in the sea, off the coast-line of an island?
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Boundary problems in stratigraphy

What do geologists mean when they say - Cambrian/Precambrian Boundary problems or Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary problems?
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Do you have any informations about fossil-rich cherts from Scandinavia?

Me and some of my friends have found many rocks similar to these in central Europe - we believe that it is fossil-rich chert that originally comes from Scandinavia. There are many interesting fossils ...
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Circular patterns at bottom of rock, is it a fossil?

The image below was taken on a hike. Circular patterns at bottom (it is flatter on this face and round otherwise) appear either man-made or possibly it is a fossil. Any idea what this could be?
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I have found this fossil tooth, could it be pliosaur ? Or maybe theropod?

Lenght: 10 mm, striated, circular cross-section Site: Brno-Hády (limestone quarry), Moravia, Czech republic, central Europa Age: Jurassic, oxford The site is a good source of fossil shark teeth, ...
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Dino-birds or “Pigeon-o-saurus”

It seems to be an accepted fact that Theropod dinosaurs evolved into present-day birds, but I am still leery of this theory. Can biologists and paleontologists really compare these distinct animals ...
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How old are Pecten fossils in general?

Many years ago, I found a piece of rock on a lakeside in Switzerland (see picture below). I think that it could be a "fossil" from some Pecten species (do you agree?). My question is: how old such ...
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Recovery From the Great Dying

252 million years ago, Earth underwent its worst, most violent chapter in the form of the Permian-Triassic extinction event, or "The Great Dying". 70% of the terrestrial species and 95% of the marine ...
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How long does earth take to recover from mass extinctions? What is “normal”?

Wikipedia states the following about the P-Tr extinction event: "Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event,[5]...
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What are 'articulate shells'?

I can not really find a definition, not even in a geologic dictionnary: What are articulate (resp. inarticulate) shells? To be more specific, the term is related to tsunami deposits (tsunamite).
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Connection between microbes and serpentinite?

Serpentinite belongs to the serpentine group. This group of minerals are metamorphic minerals caused a special process called serpentinization. Serpentinization created serpentinite on the Earth's ...
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What makes pollen varieties useful index fossils?

What makes pollen varieties useful index fossils? Should pollen not be a poor index fossil?
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Are Pompeii and Herculaneum unique?

Has anyone ever found or gone looking for similar locations, i.e. volcanic eruption sites in which unfortunate victims – human and non-human – have been entombed in the volcanic ash, with the ...
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How to identify a predator's coprolite from an herbivore's?

I have a coprolite that is 8" by 5" and weighs 8 lbs. The shape is similar to a lumpy brain, the colors below outer crust are deep red and the crust is pastel green and grey. It has a strong density ...
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How do scientists measure the age of old animal remains?

The remains of a mammoth were recently unearthed in a Michigan farmer’s field [1]. This find could provide new information on the activity of early humans in the area, experts at the University of ...
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Time relativity relating to Carbon dating? [closed]

Theoretically if in early years the earth was moving at an astronomically different pace (whether in orbit or rotation, whatever sounds better) wouldn't that alter the science of carbon dating? As I ...
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Paleontology science fair ideas?

My daughter, age 8, wants to do her science fair project in paleontology. For the fair, we need to come up with a question that can lead to a hypothesis, then apply the scientific method to test this ...
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Are there any geological periods found on top of each other that have dinosaurs of that period with in them?

In diagrams, It is common to depict geological periods to be directly on top of each other with fossils of that period within them. When looking for evidence of this, I have only found examples of ...
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Why is the concept of “mass extinction” a relatively recent development in geology?

The concept of "mass extinctions", with its catastrophic connotations, is a relatively recent development in the geological sciences. It evolved in the early 1980s, driven by two landmark publications ...
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What is the age of the earliest traces of life on Earth?

In the article Oldest rocks, earliest life, heaviest impacts, and the Hadean–Archaean transition (Moorbath, 2005), the author states (based on previous referenced research) that the $\ce{^13C}$ ...
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Is the Principle of Fossil Succession accurate?

After wondering on the validity of the principle of Original Horizontality, I'm now focusing on the principle of fossil succession. This principle states that : Fossils of species that did not ...
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How do archaeologists address time dilation when analyzing carbon dating results?

It is a proven fact that the gravitational force exerted upon an object directly affects that objects experience of time; the greater the gravity, the slower time passes, and visa versa. While the ...
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Is the Younger Dryas associated with an extinction event?

It's often said that, while warming and cooling have happened before, what is unusual about the current anthropogenic warming is that it's happening so fast, relative to previous warming phases$^1$. ...
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How much have global GPP and biomass changed over Earth's history?

I'm curious about how much is known about this topic: how much has the total amount of life on Earth changed over the 4 billion years or so that it has existed on this planet? Are there estimates of ...
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Life on Earth previous to us

I've seen in several places that there seems to be an extinction cycle on Earth of approximately 27 million years. I've read this here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1294372/Life-...
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What geological processes can cause local biases in the fossil record?

What are the main geological processes that can cause local biases in the fossil record, e.g. when comparing species diversity or species occurances in different areas from the same time period? I ...
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How would a Mars rover identify a microbialite fossil?

I recently read of a company in Canada using robotic technology to study freshwater microbialites. Their claim is that greater understanding of terrestrial microbialites could help in the search for ...
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How do we know graptolites were pelagic?

How do we know that graptolites were pelagic, and not benthic, creatures? I understand it has something to do with their being found in black shale, but I'm not sure why that is particularly relevant.
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Barite and Acantharians

Acantharians are planktonic protists (abundant in today oceans), sister-group to polycystine Radiolarians, that have the particularity of biomineralizing complex skeletons in strontium sulfate SrSO4 (...
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How are organic walled microfossils preserved in the fossil record?

Organic walled microfossils have no hard mineralised parts, how are they preserved in the fossil record?
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What evidence is there that plant evolutionary history “dances to a different beat” than that of animals?

Floral transformations have been due to gradual replacement and piecemeal, not mass extinction. Plant “geoevents”; have not been synchronous with epochal animal originations/ extinctions and hence ...
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Did the impact event that caused the Chicxulub-Crater definitively and single-handedly cause the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction?

Opinions abound on the web. What is the state of the current science regarding this theory and what is the best evidence? Is the theory gaining or losing traction? If it's losing what's the best of ...
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Were dinosaurs with feathers common?

More and more evidence of fossilized dinosaurs with feathers are appearing. Did many dinosaurs have feathers and did this change during the Mesozoic?
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Biogenic origin of authigenic zeolites

Bohrmann et al. 1989 advanced the idea that the silicate phase from some clinoptilolites come from the diagenetic degradation of biogenic opal (from radiolarians in that case but presumably also other ...
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What periods of the fossil record are most lacking in specimens?

What parts of the fossil record are most lacking in specimens? That is, if you were to trace the evolution of a modern mammal (humans, for example) from abiogenesis to now, which periods are the most ...