Fossils can be found nearly anywhere. A fossil record is the collective remnants of life from the past, and each fossil tells a story. There are many different types of fossils: molds, casts, imprints, traces, amber, and petrified fossils, but this post will be focusing in on petrified fossils.
What’s a Petrified Fossil?
A petrified fossil goes through the process of petrification. Petrification is the process of turning living organic material into stone. This takes place when the molecules in an organism are replaced with the molecules of a mineral. The resulting fossils are raised or three-dimensional and are found in sedimentary rock.
Using petrified fossils, paleontologists can explain the gradual change of relatively complex life forms, also in the process called biological evolution. With biological evolution, scientists have the ability to explain life’s diversity and specific adaptations.
Phylogeny is the study of how organisms are related through evolution. Information from petrified fossils allow scientists to build a picture of how a certain variation of species are related. Depending on the species found in the fossil, scientists can use the data to understand how adaptations caused the species to evolve, or become extinct.
Where are they found?
Petrified fossils can be found near volcanic deposits and sedimentary rocks in many locations worldwide.
Types of Petrified Fossils
Petrified wood is the most common type of petrified fossil, but all living organisms can be petrified. One of the most common petrified animal fossils are bone and teeth. However, these types of petrified fossils are less common than petrified wood because they can easily decompose.
The petrification of fossils are a very rare form of fossilization and isn’t completely understood by scientists. However, petrified fossils are an extremely useful resource for scientists to understand the biological evolution and phylogeny of a certain species.