- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology
What Makes a Fossil a Fossil and How Do Your Find One? Or Can We Ever Prove Evolution Or Creationism?
Ardi and Lucy, Who Were You?
A fossil is just another name for a skeleton, except it can be thousands, millions, even billions of years old. There are four ways that a once living organism can become fossilized. Recrystalization is where the crystals form within the organism and eventually replace all the organic matter. Unaltered preservation is exactly as it sounds, a living being trapped in a substance at the point of death that instantly preserved it. The tar pits, the bug in the piece of amber, the star wars character trapped by that horrible monster…you get the point. Those examples are not common. Carbonization is where only carbon remains, as in a fire, and finally, permineralization, where the organic material is replaced by the minerals in the soil that surrounds the substance.
So why are fossils so hard to find? There are a lot of the kind that show sea creatures trapped in the rock, like the Tropoderoceras that looks like a spiral. Why then are human fossil remains so hard to find? If we could find enough fossilized remains of humans, then would the age-old question of creationism versus evolution be answered finally once and for all? Well, even that may be more than one wants to tackle with just this one HUBPAGE !!
First one has to become, hypothetically speaking, a fossil. One of the most famous examples of human fossils is from Pompeii. This may be the perfect example of Carbonization. First, pretend you are on a fault in the earth. The spring rains are nearly over, the earth is saturated with water. The earth begins to shake, you hunker down as trees fall, the earth opens and cracks then finally all is quiet. Just as you are sure all is well, the entire side of the mountain comes sliding down on top of you. You become a fossil once the mudslide becomes hardened and your organic remains dissolves, leaving only the imprint of your being. So the best, in fact the only way anything can become a fossil is if the death is sudden and absolutely no air gets to the body! Instant mummification then is the analogy of a fossil.
Now think of yourself as that imprint, with constantly changing geography going on above your dark end of being. Old leaves add to the levels about your quick demise, there are more earthquakes, other animals or human remains are fossilized on top of where your remains are lying! So the best place to look for the first trace of human remains is buried deep, deep within the earth. The youngest fossils are on top layers, the deeper you go; the more likely you are to hit a site that may contain a fossil. This also depends on how quickly you are fossilized, as discussed earlier…remember the mudslide and no air? If a scavenger comes along and sucks all the marrow from your bones, drags your pieces of body all up and down the place, you died, the less likely it is that your remains will get to the point of fossilization! This also answers the question of why there are so few remains of human fossils found compared to dinosaurs, scattered animal bones, even trace fossils such as the sea creature spiral, the Tropoderoceras.
But let’s go back to the question posed rather sneakily at the start of the article. If we could find absolute proof of prehistoric human remains that are similar but different from today’s human, would that prove evolution? The most interesting thing about the Ardi remains found at the ancient city of Aramis, Ethiopia to this author is that since the seventeen different humanoid remains were discovered in the early 1990’s, archaeologists, paleontologists and scientist agree on one thing. Everything surmised by Darwin was wrong as well as right. Darwin surmised that in order to survive in such a rapidly changing and traumatic environment such as earth, every organism would have to change. Imagine if we, as the species we are today were put on earth four and a half million years ago! Extinct, quickly, is the word that springs to mind! OK then who were our ancestors? Only fossil remains can help us and they are not easy to find.
It was interesting to discover that Aramis millions of years ago were wet and wooded, lush with life, whereas today it is one of the hottest and least hospitable places on earth. Though why should this be surprising? Limestone mountain cliffs are proof that at one time, millions of years ago, those towering mountains were once under the sea. It must be easier to accept if that mountain is thousands of feet above our head, in comparison to the tiny pieces of Ardipithicus found at Aramis.
As time moves on and every living being, including humans, change perhaps more fossils will be found that will help clear up the question of who our ancestors were or were we truly formed from a lump of clay?
The easiest way for this author to come to grips with this question was explained by my Grandmother Barden. She felt that The Higher Power was with humans from the very beginning and that all will be explained “in God’s time.” She also said that although the Bible states in seven days, that no one knows what The Higher Powers Timeline was. His seven days may well be measured differently than ours!
The one thing that has often brought me strange looks and lectures on the appropriateness of certain “discussions” is that as humans we readily accept the “great flood” theory, the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah and the threat that the NEXT time will be the LAST TIME and will be by fire. Now I ask you, if the Higher Power got so upset with human behavior that it was nearly eradicated totally once and an entire city another time…why is it so hard for humans to see that evolution may well have been the Higher Powers Plan all along.
The only difference would be that as we have grown up, so to speak, we have realized that our time contains much more than a piddly few thousand years. Humans have been on earth a long, long time. You would think we would have learned something really worthwhile by now, like how to love one another.
On the other hand, hopefully, The Higher Power is not finished with us yet. This author knows how much she does not know.