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Why are fossils important evidence for evolution?

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Quick Answer

Fossils provide a record of life on Earth from as long as 1 billion years ago, showing how organisms, animals and plants have changed over time. These records can be dated, so they are a physical representation of evolution, such as the way that ancient fish developed a bone in their jaw over time.

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Full Answer

According to BioLogos, fossils originating from about 1 billion years ago show that the earliest life on the planet consisted of organisms that were single-celled. The fossils from about half a billion years later show that those single cells had developed into organisms with multiple cells. In other words, the fossils show that organisms evolved over a long period of time, moving from simpler life to more complex life. This pattern continued throughout history, as life forms became more and more complex.

Evolution does not go in a single line, evolving from one form of life to the next. In fact, according to the Smithsonian website, homo sapiens evolved in a large family of other human species, although homo sapiens (the species of humans on the planet now) were the only species to survive.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why are fossils important?

    A:

    Fossils are important in understanding the history of the world because they provide physical evidence of animals and plants that lived in the past. Through their discovery, paleontologists uncover new ideas about former life on earth.

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  • Q:

    What do fossils communicate about the past?

    A:

    Fossils communicate what organisms were alive during which period of time, as well as their shape and size. Fossils are well-preserved remains of animals and organisms where the bone has been transformed into a rock-like structure. Fossils can be examined, and by using dating techniques, paleontologists can determine the time period in which the organism was alive.

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  • Q:

    What biochemical evidence is there for evolution?

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    The theory of evolution is supported by biochemical evidence; many of the same molecules and biochemical processes occur within all living organisms, from single-cell bacteria to humans. Originally, scientists couldn't understand how the process of evolution began, but they later discovered that RNA possesses catalytic properties.

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  • Q:

    Can fossils be found in metamorphic rock?

    A:

    Fossils can be found in metamorphic rock. However, fossils are rarely found in metamorphic rock and are typically partial or badly damaged from the rock formation process.

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