Paleontology dating fossils

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Paleontological observations have been documented as far back as the 5th century BC. It now uses techniques drawn from a wide range of sciences, including biochemistry, mathematics, and engineering.

The science became established in the 18th century as a result of Georges Cuvier's work on comparative anatomy, and developed rapidly in the 19th century. Use of all these techniques has enabled paleontologists to discover much of the evolutionary history of life, almost all the way back to when Earth became capable of supporting life, about .

The term itself originates from Greek παλαιός, palaios, i.e. As knowledge has increased, paleontology has developed specialised sub-divisions, some of which focus on different types of fossil organisms while others study ecology and environmental history, such as ancient climates.

Body fossils and trace fossils are the principal types of evidence about ancient life, and geochemical evidence has helped to decipher the evolution of life before there were organisms large enough to leave body fossils.

Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.

Molecular phylogenetics has also been used to estimate the dates when species diverged, but there is controversy about the reliability of the molecular clock on which such estimates depend.Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.You will be notified by email when the transcript and captions are available. Please contact [email protected] you have any questions about this request.Since the time of separation of the evolutionary lines of apes and humans about 5 million years ago, some fossil specimens of the skeletal remains of our earliest ancestors have been preserved and discovered.

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