Fossil Formation and Uncovering the Ancient Past


How do we know that dinosaurs existed? Well, it’s not just from looking at their evolutionary descendant the chicken. Instead, the truth about ancient history and its dwellers lie in the discovery of a fossil. But, what is this scientific capsule? In today’s blog, we uncover the formation of these records. Plus, disclose how they reveal the history of the world. 

What is a Fossil and How Does it Form?

 A fossil is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include:

Specimens are fossils if they are over 10,000 years old. In fact, the oldest dates to around 3.48 -4.1 billion years old. The process of dating these ages has evolved over the centuries thanks to advancements in technology.

The Fossilisation Process

The transformation varies according to tissue type and external factors. 

What They Tell Us About History

We now know how a fossil comes to be. But, how do scientists (specifically known as palaeontologists) use them to uncover the ancient past? 

Types of Fossils

As we’ve discovered, a fossil appears in many different forms. But, what’s more, they also belong to different categories that reveal different information. 


So, how do we go from a fossil discovered today to knowing when the fossilisation process occurred? Whilst radiometric dating is very exact, it cannot work on fossil beds that lack the necessary radioactive elements. 

Instead, a process called stratigraphy reveals the age of the layers the specimen lies in. Thus, if a scientist knows the age of the two layers an organism lies in, then we know the specimen’s age lies between these two know ages. 

About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo Clubs. Don't let after-school be an afterthought - join Gooroo's online platform centred around hands-on project-based learning!