How to become a fossil?

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2018-02-25 07:30:11

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How to become a fossil?

Every fossil is a small miracle. As noted by bill Bryson in his book "a Short history of almost everything", just one bone in a billion becomes a fossil. In such calculations, all fossilized legacy of the 320 million people living, for example, in the US today, will be about 60 bones or less than one-fourth of the human skeleton. Less than 1/10 of one percent of all species that ever existed became fossils. But if you try you can greatly increase your chances of eternal life, at least in this form.

If you imagine that 60 of these bones will be scattered on the square for 9.88 million kilometers, the chance to find those bones in the future are virtually absent. In General, calcification (or fossilization) is so unlikely is the process that scientists estimate that less than 1/10 of one percent of all ever kinds turned into fossils. And certainly not all have been discovered.

In this sense have an advantage: we have hard skeletons and we relatively large. Thus, we are more likely to go through fossilization than a jellyfish or a worm. However, there are some things that will help you to remain in the ground for a long time.

Taphonomy – the science of burial, decay and preservation – that is, the processes that occur after the organism dies and becomes fossilized. To learn how to become a fossil, the BBC talked with the best taphonomically in the world.

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Nakopiteli and quickly

"to Maintain the good condition of the body after death is the big question. Long enough to sink into the sediment and then altered physically and chemically deep underground in order to become a fossil," says sue Bergman, taphonomic from the Museum of natural history, University of Oxford.

"to survive for millions of years, you should also survive the first hours, days, seasons, decades, centuries and thousands of years," adds Susan Kidwell, Professor, University of Chicago. "We have to survive the initial transition from "taphonomically active zone" in a zone of permanent burial, when your remains are unlikely to be exhumed".

There are infinitely many ways to break the successful fossilization. A lot can happen to a depth of 20-50 cm, in the soil or on the seabed. The remains can be eaten and scattered by scavengers, for example, or be exposed to the elements for far too long. I also wouldn't like to be touched or moved samlerhuset animals.

When it comes to quick burial, assistance may come natural disasters – floods, for example, allowing huge volumes of sedimentary rocks or volcanic eruptions. "One theory that dinosaur bones were placed initially in the dry conditions that led to the death of the dinosaurs, and then the floods carried sediments, which they were buried," says Bergman.

Of Course, we used to bury a human body at a depth of two meters (without cremation). But this is not enough.

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Find water

Of Course, the first step is to die, but to die anywhere will not work. Need to find a suitable place. It should also be remembered the water. If you die in a dry environment as soon as you will find scavengers, your bones will be just on the surface. Most experts agree that it is better to sink into the sand, dirt and sediments, and it is better suited to lakes, floodplains and rivers, or the sea.

"paleo-environment in which we find the best fossils — it is a lake and river system," said Caitlin Sims, tagonist from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Important factor is the rate at which fresh rainfall buried object. It recommends that the rivers flowing from the mountains, which cause erosion and carry a lot of rain. Another option is coastal Delta floodplain where river sediments quickly flushed when the water flows into the sea.

Ideal would be "anoxic" environment where very little oxygen and which cannot exist in animals and microorganisms, which can disturb and digest the remains.

Kidwell recommends avoiding diving to 50 centimeters below the sea floor, because this depth usually burrow crabs, shrimp, worms, and other animals.

"you Need to be in a place with a relatively low instep, so it probably sank into the sediment than was raised, and preferably with stagnant water – a pond, lake, estuary or ocean – so that it appeared an oxygen-free environment".

In rare cases, fossils created in this kind of calm, anoxic conditions, retain their soft tissue – skin, feathers and entrails. In China, they found feathered dinosaurs, and in the Bavarian quarries – the first birds, Archaeopteryx.

Once your fossils will be below the biologically active surface layer, they will steadily deeper and deeper the accumulation of sediment, says Kidwell. Risk of fracture in this case, it goes to a completely different geological scale, namely tectonics.

The Question is, how long will it take to precipitation surrounding the corpse turned into a strong rock, and then to be raised in the process of geological activity at height, where erosion can expose the remains.

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Refrain from the tomb

We Now turn to the technical aspects of fossils and what the fossils can be your body.

If it is very generalized, something the age of 50 000 years can be called "subfossils" (nedootsenennost). They mostly consist of original tissues. Extinct megafauna of the Pleistocene, which you find in caves, like giant ground sloths in South America, cave bears in Europe and marsupial lions in Australia, is a good example.

However, if you want your remains become a fossil that will stay for millions of years, you'll need minerals, which can seep through your bones and replace them with more solid substances. This process, known as the "permineralization", and in fact creates full-fledged fossil. And it can occur millions of years.

In Short, the coffin you do not need. Fastest bones are replaced by minerals, when through them flows the mineral-rich water, feeding them iron and calcium. The coffin, of course, will save the skeleton in a beautiful form, but to prevent this process.

However, there is a method that can work in a coffin. Mark Archer, a paleontologist at the University of New South Wales, offers burial in a concrete coffin, filled with sand, with a hundred holes with 5 mm diameter drilled on the sides. Then it must be buried deep enough that could pass through underground water.

"If you want to be a classical bony fossil dinosaur as a canadian, you can use coarse river sand. All soft tissues will be destroyed and you'll be well-marked skeleton."

As for minerals, calcium ions are perfect because they can settle in the form of calcite form of calcium carbonate. "They will begin to cement or cover the body and will protect it in the long run, because it is likely to lie at a great depth".

An Intentional planting of your body with suitable minerals such as calcite or gypsum, will also accelerate the process. Promote growth of hard minerals rich in iron, will also be intelligent, because they in the long run withstand weathering.

The Silicates from the sand is also suitable for inclusion. Archer even said that it is possible to fill the body with the copper strips or Nickel granules, if you like beautiful blue fossilized bones and teeth.

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avoid the edges of tectonic plates

If you survive the first few hundreds of thousands of years and minerals will start to replace your bones, well, congratulations! You have successfully become a fossil. As soon as you will accumulate layers of sediment and you will sink deeper into the earth's crust, heat and pressure will do the trick (and the body).

But that's not all. Your fossil can dive so deep that will be melted with heat and pressure of the Earth.

How to avoid it? You need to stay away from the edges of tectonic plates where the crust will eventually be swallowed by the surface. One of the subduction zones is in Iran where the Eurasian plate hangs over the Iranian plate.

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May you find

Let's think about the potential to find your fossils.

If you want to give someone a chance to find one so carefully preserved body, you need to schedule a burial in a place which is now low enough to accumulate the necessary for deep burial of the sediments – but also to rise to the top again. In other words, you need a place where weathering and erosion will eventually expose the superficial layers of your remains.

For Example, Mediterranean sea. It is shallow to the extent that, as Africa is moving towards Europe. Other small inland sea is also nice. For example, the Dead sea. The high salt content will keep your body and marinate it properly

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May remain in amber

We reviewed the standard method of creating a solid, durable, bone fossils, largely replaced by stone. But there are also other unusual methods.

For Example, amber. There are many fossils, perfectly preserved in this gem, made from tree resin – birds, lizards, and even the tail of the feathered dinosaur found in Myanmar. "If you can find a large amount of wood resin to turn into amber, you guarantee the perfect preservation of their soft tissues and bones," says CIMA. "But such a large animal as you, it won't be easy to do."

Can't find enough amber? The following option...

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