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Also includes info on how fossils are formed, the “cleaning, preparing, & repairing” of fossils, and other useful resources.
In a related article on geologic ages (Ages), we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages.
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.
Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.
These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views.
Fossils can also show us how major crises, such as mass extinctions, happened, and how life recovered after them.New discoveries have filled in the gaps, and shown us in unimaginable detail the shape of the great ‘tree of life’.Darwin and his contemporaries could never have imagined the improvements in resolution of stratigraphy that have come since 1859, nor guessed what fossils were to be found in the southern continents, nor predicted the huge increase in the number of amateur and professional paleontologists worldwide.Results from different techniques, often measured in rival labs, continually confirm each other.Every few years, new geologic time scales are published, providing the latest dates for major time lines.