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Fossil

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Fish with fossilized fleshy parts

Fossils are remnants or traces of organisms from the past, that are typically embedded and preserved in sedimentary rock.

There are three types of fossils: imprints, casts, mineralization.

  • Imprints are where the organism simply left an imprint on a rock.
  • Casts are where the organism left a cavity in a rock that got filled in by other material.
  • Mineralization is where the material of the bones or other body parts get replaced by minerals.

Layers of fossiliferous rocks provide a record of the sequence of their deposition. This "fossil record" is typically diagrammed in a cross-section known as the geological column. Evolutionists hold that this record represents a history of life on Earth over hundreds of millions of years, and fossils are offered as the main evidence to support that organisms have evolved from simple to more complex forms. However, most creationists believe that the vast majority of the fossils are instead the remains of plant and animals that died during the Biblical global flood.

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Fossilization

Bryozoan Fossil
Main Article: Fossilization

Fossilization is the process by which plant and animal remains are preserved in sedimentary rock. The Earth is covered in layers of fossils, and this record of history helps us understand what types of organisms that lived in the distant past (i.e. before the flood of Noah).

The study of how living organisms become fossilized is known as taphonomy (Greek for "laws of burial"). Under normal conditions, fossilization will rarely take place, and may best be explained through flood geology mechanisms. Nevertheless, there are two main theories regarding the formation of sedimentary rock that contain fossils.

  • Uniformitarianism: fossils were buried through uniform rates of erosion and deposition, largely consistent with current rates.
  • Catastrophism: fossils were buried quickly by one or more major catastrophes.

Fossil record

Main Article: Fossil record

The fossil record is a "recording" of history. Much like the growth rings in a tree or the layers found in ice cores, the earth is covered in layers (strata) of sedimentary rock which represent a sequence of events. More specifically this strata records the relative times when the fossilized organisms were buried by sediment. In contrast to many records of human history, however, layers of the "fossil record" come without universally recognized methods of dating. Some creationists prefer to use a phrase like "fossil layers" to avoid the connotation that the Geologic Column is evidence for the macroevolution of living forms over millions of years.

Paleontology

Paleoanthropology

Main Article: Paleoanthropology

Paleoanthropology is a specialized branch of Paleontology and physical anthropology involved with the study of ancient human beings. Paleoanthropologists are those investigating the origin and subsequent evolution of human physiology by examining fossil remains and other ancient evidence. Mainstream anthropologists and archaeologists believe that humans began domesticating animals and plants in the Middle East about 10-12,000 years ago. The earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, developed in Mesopotamia about 7,000 years ago, after humans had developed agriculture sufficiently. This is the same location where many of the early Biblical stories in Genesis are set.

Paleobotany

Main Article: Paleobotany

Paleobotany is involved with the study of ancient plants. It is an important area of creation biology, as creationism and evolutionism have radically different descriptions of ancient plant life. Creationism holds that a wide variety of plant life was created by God fully intact with the capacity to reproduce and adapt to changing environments, approximately 6,000 years ago. Evolutionism holds that all plant life (and indeed all life on the planet) is related by common descent over millions of years, and that more complex plants developed more recently than simpler plants.

Paleozoology

Trilobite from Ordovician-age strata near St. Petersburg, Russia.
Main Article: Paleozoology

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