Meaning of Fossil
What is Fossil:
Fossils are the petrified remains of organisms that lived in ancient times.
The word fossil comes from Latin fossĭlis, which in turn derives from the verb fodere, which means 'dig'.
Fossils are generally found in sedimentary rocks. For a fossil to form, the organism must go through a physical-chemical process called fossilization. This process petrifies the organism after it is buried and conserves it for a long time in the earth's crust.
The importance of fossil findings and their study is that they serve to reconstruct the natural history of the world, collecting data and clues of organisms that existed in remote times, such as the finding of dinosaur fossils.
Fossil can also be used in a colloquial sense to refer to something that is considered old, outdated, or obsolete.
In Mexico, students who lag behind their peers in initial courses, or who have been studying for many years without really making progress, are colloquially called fossil.
Formerly, fossil could also refer to minerals or rocks of any kind.
The science that is dedicated to the study of fossils is paleontology, from which subdisciplines such as:
- paleobiology: which deals with the study of organisms from the past;
- biochronology: which analyzes and determines the period in which these organisms lived and
- taphonomy: dealing with fossilization processes.
Fossils also help in the study of geology and evolutionary biology.
Types of fossils
The different types of fossils are classified by the time to which they belong and the type of fossilized organisms. In this sense, the most common fossils are those remains of ammonoids, species of mollusks, which lived between the Devonian and Cretaceous times about 330 million years ago.
The most common fossil formation is through carbonization.
See also Carbonization.
As a living fossil, any currently living organism is known that bears great resemblance to species from remote times, of which we only have knowledge through fossil records.
An example of this are the brachiopods, which are known from the lower Calámbrico, that is, approximately 540 million years ago. There is also the coelacanth, a fish that lives off the coast of Africa and was thought to be extinct millions of years ago.
As a guide fossil (also called a director, index or characteristic), it is called that fossil whose presence in an excavation allows to determine with a certain level of precision the period to which the stratigraphic unit where it is found belongs, either because it is particular to a certain time in history. geological, either because it is typical of a certain paleoenvironment.
As fossil energy or fossil fuel, it is called that which comes from the biomass formed millions of years ago, through various transformation processes inside the Earth, until the formation of substances with high energy content.
Some examples of fossil energy are coal, oil, or natural gas. As such, it is an energy extracted from a non-renewable resource. Most of the energy produced in the world comes from these fuels through the petrochemical industry.