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22 votes
Accepted

Is there a geological explanation for the recent Mammoth tusk discovery 185 miles off the California coast?

The mammoth probably died on land. Its remains got picked up by a glacier. The glacier carried the tusk down to the sea. Eventually, the ice containing the tusk broke off as an iceberg. The iceberg ...
Spencer's user avatar
  • 3,638
20 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 ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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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 ...
John's user avatar
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15 votes
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What kind of rock is this being eaten by a rock-eating worm?

thank you for your interest in the article. I'm the lead author on this paper (Shipway) and I happened to come across your post when looking through all the media stories on this animal. To answer ...
ShipwayR's user avatar
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12 votes
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Why were the early lifeforms of Proterozoic formation of India devoid of hard parts?

Simply put, life hadn't evolved any 'hard parts' yet. This applies to the Proterozoic all over the world, not just in the part of Gondwana that became India. 'Hard parts' usually means tissue that is ...
Spencer's user avatar
  • 3,638
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 ...
dlb's user avatar
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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 ...
John's user avatar
  • 6,966
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 ...
Inkenbrandt's user avatar
  • 1,055
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 ...
John's user avatar
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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 ...
Pont's user avatar
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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. ...
Thomas Perry's user avatar
7 votes

Dino-birds or "Pigeon-o-saurus"

First, let me link a variety of popular science articles which can give you some background explanation. Here are Scientific American, Smithsonian, and Audubon magazines. The 'smoking gun' evidence ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 3,376
7 votes

Do you have any informations about fossil-rich cherts from Scandinavia?

What you are looking for is information about the "Oslofeltet" (Oslo-field) in Norway (dated to be from the Ordovicium period, 443 - 488 million years old). This is a concentrated field of of fossils. ...
trond hansen's user avatar
  • 1,888
7 votes
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Book on the history of Earth and life on Earth

Cowen's History of Life Your best bet is Cowen's History of Life, it is an excellent introductory textbooks for paleontology well laid out and clearly written with introductory students in mind so a ...
John's user avatar
  • 6,966
7 votes
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Why aren't diatoms' shells used as a temperature proxy, but foraminifera shells are?

Lacustrine diatoms are used extensively as reliable conventional proxies in Holocene (within the last 10,000 years) paleoclimate studies. According to this 2010 paper: (paleoclimate) Reconstructions ...
Knob Scratcher's user avatar
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 ...
verisimilidude's user avatar
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 ...
John's user avatar
  • 6,966
6 votes
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Did geologists determine the age of rocks and fossils before the advent of modern scientific dating methods?

The approach adopted by Charles Lyell (and other writers in a similar timeframe), in his book 'Principles of Geology' which was first published in the 1830s was to look at processes in the modern ...
Andy M's user avatar
  • 2,091
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/...
bandybabboon's user avatar
  • 1,349
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 ...
JulPal's user avatar
  • 734
5 votes
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How old are Pecten fossils in general?

Pectens seem to have evolved from Chlamys in the late Eocene or early Oligocene. The coarseness and rib spacing of Vertipectens has been slowly evolving since the early and Mid-Miocene, so they have ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
5 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?

Yes it does happen, and we know when and why it happens. Bad collection. The most common reason is because of bad collection methods. Some times laypeople collect fossils without recording where or ...
John's user avatar
  • 6,966
4 votes

What is the age of the earliest traces of life on Earth?

The oldest (fairly) definitive fossils date from about 3.48 billion years ago (Ga) and consist of sedimentary structures associated with microbial mats living in coastal environments.[1] Beyond this ...
bon's user avatar
  • 2,211
4 votes
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ID on a potential flint fossil

Assuming that the identification of the rock as Flint/Chert and not Limestone/Dolomite is correct I'd say it's a formation artifact rather than a fossil. What I mean is that at some point as it was ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 4,550
4 votes

Why are many fossils found in deserts?

Because there is nothing in the way. Looking for stuff in a jungle is difficult because of limitation of vision and difficulty of moving equipment and supplies. Looking for fossils in downtown ...
Chris Moore's user avatar
4 votes
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How older is this snail shell possible could be?

That's not a snail per se it's the shell of an ammonite which is more like a squid with an external shell than anything else I can think to compare it to. They went extinct with the dinosaurs so it's ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 4,550
4 votes

How far into the past would you have to go before you couldn't breathe the atmosphere?

850 million years ago and earlier oxygen levels were below 6%, which is the minimum for human survival. But at oxygen levels below 14% we start to be significantly impaired, and we have evolved with ...
Andy M's user avatar
  • 2,091

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