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19 votes

Why are many fossils found in deserts?

Bones don't last very long in jungles. Or in forests. Or almost anywhere. Fossils are the consequence of one highly unlikely fluke after another. Darwin himself commented on this. It takes just-right ...
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15 votes

What are these lines on this stone?

You don't say which lake, but these are almost certainly crinoid stem fossils. Crinoids, or sea lilies, are echinoderms (relatives of starfish and sea urchins) that anchor themselves to the sea floor ...
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15 votes

Why are many fossils found in deserts?

Because you find fossils by looking at exposed bedrock, deserts by their nature often have huge expanses of exposed bedrock. The lack of plants is also a big benefit, plant roots tend to destroy ...
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10 votes
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Why are many fossils found in deserts?

I would contend that the fact that the location is a desert has little to nothing to do in most cases to the existence of fossils at the location. Most of the fossils in the location, at least the ...
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9 votes
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What is the oldest fossil on Earth?

The oldest undisputed fossil are Stromatolites, bacterial mats, the oldest of which are dated ay 3.7 billion years ago. The key term here is undisputed, there are other possible fossils but it is very ...
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9 votes

Has there ever been a case where we have found what appears to be a prehistoric fossil but have no way of dating it?

The short answer is no, because we always have some constraint of how old something is. Sometimes we have fossils with large date error bars, and often we do not know for how long that species ...
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9 votes

What is this fossil found in flint in Kent?

That is a sea urchin (echinoid) or at least part of one. the pattern of plates is fairly distinctive. 2 rows of small plates alternating with 2 rows of large plates. I am not familiar enough with ...
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8 votes
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What is Oligo-Miocene radiation?

The ‘Oligo-Miocene’ part The Oligocene and the Miocene are epochs of geological time. The Oligocene lasted from ~33.9 million years ago to ~23 million years ago; the Miocene followed immediately ...
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8 votes

Are there any geological periods found on top of each other that have dinosaurs of that period with in them?

There are definitely many examples of overlying Mesozoic strata that contain characteristic dinosaur fossils (and ichnofossils – i.e. trace fossils). One of the best examples is the Mesozoic ...
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8 votes
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Is the Principle of Fossil Succession accurate?

Your analogy with burying a box is not as accurate as you think. It needs specific sedimentary conditions for the remains of an organism to fossilize: being buried in soil is far from enough. ...
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8 votes
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Life on Earth previous to us

You need to be very wary of anything written in the non-scientific media about science. The media loves woo and controversy because those are the things that garners readers, and that in turn garners ...
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8 votes
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How long could a steel artifact last?

The short answer is no. Most metals do not fossilize well, they are too reactive/water soluble. Metals are usually what is doing the fossilizing, dissolved metal in groundwater is being attracted to ...
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8 votes
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What is this fossil? What is this crystal?

Yes, this is a rather nice find; an ammonite of the Jurassic in central Europe. Given the size of the specimen, and its appearance, this appears to be of the species Cardioceras, or Perisphinctes. ...
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7 votes
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How can I learn to spot fossils and fossil-bearing rocks on the Jurassic coast?

You are correct when you say it is mostly a matter of getting your eye in and getting used to the shapes and types of rock you need to be looking at. Hopefully however the below information will help ...
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7 votes
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What are Ordovican trace fossils, and what do they look like?

Trace fossils are marks or things left behind by living things do their thing, they are indirect remains of organisms, coprolites (poop), footprints, egg shells, ect. If we found a fossilized beehive ...
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7 votes
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Curious natural patterns on the surface of basalt blocks that make up the sidewalk

These are most likely manganese dendrites. It is not a fossil, and not organic. These usually form in cracks in rocks, and most likely this slab was broken along an existing crack. You can read more ...
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6 votes

Aligator or Dinosaur Fossil skin type rock

I agree with commentator @John, this is a fossil coral. The coral animal (the polyp) builds a column, and as it ages it closes off the bottom and extends the upper lip. In some of the views you see ...
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6 votes
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I have found this fossil tooth, could it be pliosaur ? Or maybe theropod?

Most likely plesiosaur. That fluted structure is indicative of marine reptile teeth. My first guess was mosasaur but their are a lot of plesiosaurs from that formation so I would go with that. It is ...
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  • 6,558
6 votes

Life on Earth previous to us

Firstly, I'd like to state that so far there is no evidence that a civilization similar to ours has appeared on Earth before us. It might be apparent that we as a species have left quite a ...
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  • 1,675
6 votes

Why cannot people burn all the atmospheric oxygen?

Photosynthesis has not stopped. It happens all the time, splitting water and carbon dioxide, and producing oxygen and carbohydrates. Likewise, organic matter rots and decomposes all the time, ...
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6 votes

Are marine fossils in the mountain happens due to lower sea levels?

Leonardo was wrong about this. It is not due to sea level dropping (except in very isolated cases), it's due to the land rising. Sedimentary rocks that form in sea beds are often uplifted by ...
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5 votes
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A sedimentary rock with only minerals

This is a really bad question, because all three can lack fossils, or all three can have fossils. The definition of "minerals" is also a bit unclear, because fossils are also made out of minerals. I'...
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5 votes
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What type of mammal does this fossil tooth belong to?

It's an entelodont, South Dakota is famous for it's Oligocene mammalian faunas which include entelodonts such as Archaeotherium and Daeodon. here is an http://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/181202162847-0-1/...
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5 votes
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Why the $\delta \, ^{18}\text{O}$ in foraminifera shells decrease with temperature even if the oceanic $\delta \, ^{18}\text{O}$ stay constant?

That is because the chemical reactivity of $^{18}\text{O}$ is slightly higher than that of $^{16}\text{O}$. For that reason, the biochemical reactions that produce calcium carbonate in foraminifera ...
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5 votes

Why don't animals rot when trapped in amber?

things need to be exposed to bacteria to rot, amber produces a perfect form fitting seal and has several antimicrobial properties to boot killing off bacteria that is already present. Even microbes ...
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5 votes
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Fossil from North Norfolk coast, UK

The round one is a belemnite... The grid-shaped fossil is a bryozoan. Bryozoans were (and are) marine colony building organisms often encrusting shells and other hardgrounds in the oceans. There are ...
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5 votes

How long could a steel artifact last?

When we speak of a fossil, we don't usually mean a preserved object, but rather a preserved trace of an object, like it's impression in other material. Metal objects certainly would leave impressions ...
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  • 150
5 votes

Have fossils ever been found in the asphalt lakes of Trinidad and Venezuela?

Trinidad Quote from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/trinidad-and-tobago-nature-and-scientific-wonders-18329129/ Quite an oddity sits in La Brea in South Trinidad—the world's largest asphalt ...
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