Monday, April 16, 2012

Use of multi disciplinary approach to understand a Fossil type

Dating the fossil- The first thing to know about a fossil is find out its date in the earth's history.This can be done by measuring the radioactivity of radioactive elements like carbon,uranium etc.The radioactive elements lose half of their radioactivity in a fixed period.An approximate time of the fossils in the geological time scale can be pinpointed by this method.

Geography- The location where the fossil is found is also to be taken note of.The occurrence of the organism there and the presence or absence of similar fossils elsewhere will point out the clues as to the origin,migration etc of the organism.

Biochemical- The fossils may give a clue as to the composition of the tissues fossilized.In fact it has been possible to get small fragments of DNA from some fossils and a comparison of these fragments with other  organisms of the present day; a relationship is established between the organisms and thereby trace the evolutionary trend of them.

Anthropometry- The measurements of the fossils,size,length,capacity of the cranium etc can be indicative of the level of development in evolution.

Reconstruction- It has been possible to reconstruct the shape and size of prehistoric organisms studying their fossils.Many dinosaurs and pre-hominid forms have been reconstructed making use of details that can be studied from the fossil remains.

Cultural adjuncts- Along with the fossils many artifacts,pottery,jewelley,paintings etc are also discovered.These can help to understand the cultural evolution of the fossil type discovered.

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