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Fossil Record Terms

Abiotic/Physical Factors Nom-living factors such as erosion, wind, and sun exposure.
Benthic Living at the bottom of the ocean or on the ocean floor.
Biological/Biotic Factors Living factors such as decomposers, scavengers, and predators.
Body fossil Body parts of organisms that become fossils, such as bones, teeth, skin, leaves, tree trunks.
Cast Casts are formed when sediment leaks into a mold and hardens to form a copy of the original structure.
Compression Fossils formed when an organism is flattened, leaving a dark stain in the rock.
Coprolite Fossilized Feces
Decomposer An organism that breaks down the tissue and/or structures of dead organisms.
Erosion Weathering or wearing away of rocks and earth (and any fossils they contain) caused by wind, sun, and/or water.
Fossil The natural remains of traces of past life. Something is considered to be a fossil if it is at least 10,000 years old.
Fossil Record ALL of the fossils that have existed throughout life's history, whether they have been found or not.
Groundwater Water found underground as a result of rainfall, ice and snow melt, submerged rivers, lakes, and springs.
Ichnology The study of trace fossils.
Igneous Rock Type of rock produced when molten magma (lava) cools and solidifies.
Inorganic Not containing carbon. Not made from living things. Ex: minerals
Impression Fossilized prints or marks made by a living thing. Leaf prints, skin prints and footprints are good examples.
Intertidal The coastal zone between the low and high tide mark where waves impact the land.
Metamorphic Rock Rock produced when any type of rock is changed by heat, pressure, and chemical activity in Earth.
Mineralization The process whereby living material is replaced with minerals.
Mold The impression of an organism left behind in the rock.
Paleontology The study of life in the past.
Paleontologists People who study fossils and other types of evidence to learn about life in the past.
Plate Tectonics The concept that explains the movement of the Earth's crustal plates, sea floor spreading, and a number of other geologic processes of the Earth's surface.
Rock Cycle The process through which one type of rock (igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic) is converted into another.
Scavenger An organism that feeds on dead and dying organisms.
Sedimentary Rock Rock that is formed when layers of small particles (sediment) are compressed and cemented together.
Trace Fossil Evidence left by organisms, such as burrows, imprints, coprolites, or footprints.
Uplift The process that causes part of Earth's crust to rise above surrounding areas. This can cause layers of rock to become exposed at the surface.
Relative Age A rock's age compared to other rocks.
Absolute Age # of years since a rock formed.
Law of Superposition In horizontal sedimentary rock layers, the oldest is on the bottom. Each higher one is younger.
Extrusion Lava that hardens on surface.
Intrusion Mass of igneous rock formed when magma cools and hardens.
Fault A break in Earth's crust.
Unconformity The surface where new rock layers meet a much older rock.
Index Fossil Fossil of widely distributed organism that lived during a short period.
Created by: sgust