Of all the various forms of life that have existed on the earth, less than 1% have left a fossil record. Once an organism dies, various agencies of decay quickly destroy all traces of that organism. Luckily for us some environmental conditions are conducive to the preservation of organic remains, e.g. rivers, estuaries, turbidity flows and sand storms.
Some of the types of fossilization that will be discussed are:
- soft body preservation (e.g. Burgess Shale)
- tar (e.g. La Brea tar pits)
- preservation in permafrost (e.g. Woolly Mammoth)
- permineralization (e.g. 65 million year old termite nest)
- replacement fossil (e.g. Petrified Wood)
- track ways (e.g. dinosaur foot prints)
- and many others
We will also examine how fossils can shed light on the evolutionary history of various organisms.
Graham Beard is Director / Curator of the Vancouver Island Paleontology Museum and co-author of "West Coast Fossils"