Fossils are the preserved remains of animals, plants and evidence of life from the past. From dinosaur bones and teeth, to the footprints of extinct birds, fossils are a fascinating reminder of evolution and an important part of science.
1. How Are They Formed?
Extremely rare, fossils can only be formed under very specific conditions. Usually, after a plant or animal dies, their remains will rot away or be picked apart by scavengers. However, for fossils to be formed, when a living organism dies, they must quickly be buried under a layer of sediments (rocks, sand, mud and silt) . Over time, layers and layers of sediments will bury the remains deeper in the ground; the pressure will deposit sediment minerals into the pores of the remains, turning it into hard rock.
2. Where Are They Found?
Fossils are found all around the world, though they are typically uncovered in areas where there is water or there used to be water, as living things have a higher chance of being buried in those conditions. Occasionally, fossilization occurs on dry land. Typically, in these situations the fossil would need to have gone through a mummification process in a completely sterile environment such as a desert or dry cave.
3. How Old Are They?
The oldest recorded fossils are cyanobacteria found on the rocks of Western Australia from 3.5 billion years ago. Depending on the environment, fossils can form in as little as a few years to a millions years. However, many scientists consider any specimens over 10,000 years old to be a fossil.
4. Why Are They Important?
Learning from fossils is an important part of scientific research. Fossils tell us what the earth was like millions of years ago and how different organisms evolved from a simple state to a more complex one. From fossil evidence, scientists can help establish the evolutionary course of many animals and possibly prevent future extinctions. Ultimately, fossils give us insight on life’s biggest origin questions and clues on where we might be headed.
5. Are They Safe to Collect?
Fossils have been collected and traded since their discovery by man. Beautiful and rare, they were the subject and origin of many stories and legends. These days, many of the most important scientific specimens have been sold or donated to museums and other educational institutions. However, many luxury jewelry companies still make fossils available to the public by incorporating legally obtained dinosaur bones, tusks and coral into their pieces. While these pieces make wonderful gifts that’ll be treasured for a lifetime, remember to only purchase fossil products from a reputable company.
Company Bio: Since 1997 William Henry has been a luxury brand dedicated to bringing ground breaking and functional designs in the world of men’s jewelry. The winner of the 2013 JCK Jeweler’s Choice Awards, its devotion to procuring exotic and state of the art material, such as dinosaur bone, carbon fiber and rare woods, has made it a unique voice in the industry. For more information, please visit them at http://www.williamhenry.com/.