Wordless Wednesday – Fossils

by Deb on September 28, 2011

Stromatolites

Some of my favourites, fossils! The image above is of stromatolites – the earliest large fossils, mats of algae and bacteria trapped mud to form the layers of the stromatolite. They still exist today. (Image from SNP)

Ediacaran

An early attempt at multicellular life. Image from Nagovitsyn Aleksey.

This Ediacaran is about a centimetre across. They were the first attempt at multicellular life and are not ancestors of anything we know today. We solve the problem of getting nutrients to all our cells and removing wastes by having internal organs, Ediacarans appear to have stayed relatively flat but with ‘quilting’ to stiffen and support them.

hemichordata

An early relative. Image from Ghedoghedo.

We are chordates, as are all the vertebrates we are familiar with. The ‘chord’ part doesn’t actually come from our spinal cord, but from the notochord that is important in early embryology. These graptolites may look like a couple of lines joined together, but they developed in a similar way and so are more closely related to us than any insects or crustaceans.

Homo_erectus

Homo erectus - our immediate precursor. Image from Thomas Roche.

Seeing we are more passionate about things closer to home, it’s not surprising there is more debate over human evolution than almost anything else. And I don’t just mean from creationists, but within the field as well. One of the best known hominid species is Homo erectus, who is the first undoubted human. They spread throughout Africa and into Eurasia, even down to Indonesia. They were almost certainly our direct ancestors.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsty @mummytofive September 28, 2011 at 10:40 am

I love looking at fossils, its amazing to see how the land was before we were here!
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Nadege September 28, 2011 at 11:37 am

Fossils are so amazing. They offer so much knowledge about our planet.

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Tutu Ames September 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

How fascinating! Thanks for sharing 🙂
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Tamara September 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm

What an interesting group of photos. I love looking at fossils and thinking about where and what
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Trish September 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Very interesting Deb I love history.
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miss.cinders September 28, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Deb you always have interesting pics! Love them!
happy WW!

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Emma @sciencesparks September 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Wow, I love those pictures. Fossils are amazing. I am going to show these to my little boy. xx

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Deb September 29, 2011 at 9:44 am

I love trying to imagine what it would have been like with such different animals to today, and thinking about the tiny accidents that mean we are here!

Seeing real fossils is special, something so amazingly old that has lasted.

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