The word “fossil” comes from a Latin word meaning “anything dug out of the ground”. Fossils are remains of prehistoric plants or animals that have been buried in the ground for many years and finally hardened into rock.

Fossils are utilized for different purposes. Some show the different extinct species that lived millions of years ago like dinosaurs and some fossilized animals and plants are useful in such a way that they produce oil and coal.

Dinosaurs’ Fossils

Paleontologists, scientists who study fossils, can extract information about the lifestyles, behaviours and habits of dinosaurs. They also learn about the history of Earth and the process of evolution through fossil research. Restoring dinosaur fossils is no easy task. Perfecting the reconstruction of a dinosaur demands a great deal of time, effort, technical expertise, and scientific knowledge. A complete dinosaur skeleton displayed anywhere today is usually a composite of parts extracted from two or more separate finds.

Steps to Create Dinosaurs Models:

1. Fossils are dug out of ground.

2. Rocks containing fossils are removed in one piece to prevent damage to the fossils.

3. These rocks are taken back to the laboratory, where special tools are used to carefully remove excess rock and soil.

4. A special hardening compound is used to protect the fossils, fix broken pieces, and rebuild missing bones with artificial material.

5. Experts also study fossils of dinosaur skin. Skin fossils are rarer than bone fossils.

6. By studying present-day animals that resemble dinosaurs in certain ways, scientists get their ideas about how dinosaurs lived.

7. Nobody knows the true color of dinosaurs. Scientists believe that their skin had colors for warning and for differentiating sex.

8. The preserved fossils are pieced together based in existing information about dinosaurs’ shapes.

9. Based on what is known of the anatomy of animals today, clay muscles and skins are fitted onto a model of the newly assembled skeleton.

Formation of Coal through Fossils:

A fossil fuel like natural gas and oil, coal is formed by the transformation of organic matter. Plants that lived in vast swamps 300 million years ago are the source of most of the coal that is mined today. As those plants died, they sank into the swamps and were covered with sediments. Gradually, they decomposed into peat. As the peat sank, ground heat and pressure removed hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen from it to leave mostly carbon. This is what we know as coal. Coal is hard, black mineral and is classified by its carbon contents – the higher the carbon content, the more heat it gives off when burnt. The lowest grade of coal is lignite, followed by sub-bituminous coal, bituminous coal and anthracite. Coal is also known as “Black Gold”.

Opencast Mining:

There are some places where coal seams are near the Earth’s surface. Once the soil is removed, it is easy to dig the coal out. This is known as opencast mining.

Steps of Formation of Coal:

1. Hundreds of millions years ago, there were many large ferns and other plants growing on the Earth.

2. Plants that died in swamps and on river banks were covered with soil and mud. The dead plants slowly sank into the ground.

3. As the years passed, the weight of the ground and the heat of the Earth changed the dead plants into coal.

4. Coal is usually found in layers, or seams, under the ground. To get it to the surface, we have to dig it out.

Formation of Oil through Fossils:

Geologists believe that the remains of such single-celled plank tonic plants and animals as blue-green algae and foraminifera became oil in a process that spanned million of years. As these organisms died, they fell to the seabed and were buried by sediments. Chemical rearrangement and bacterial activity then converted the organisms into kerogen (kerosene). Thermal action and pressure from layers of sedimentary rocks are believed to have converted the kerogen (kerosene) into crude oil. There is only a finite amount of oil in the world and it is being used up at an ever increasing rate. Other energy sources need to be developed quickly if the world is to avoid an energy shortage.

Oilfields – areas that contain oil- are scattered about the world. More than half the world’s oil is located in the Middle East. Countries that do not have their own supply of oil must buy it from other countries.

Steps of Formation of Oil:

1. Millions of years ago, water covered much more of the Earth’s surface than it does today. Living in the water were billions of tiny plants and animals.

2. When they died, the plants and animals fell to the ocean floor and piled up. Particles of eroded rocks in the form of sand and mid covered them up.

3. The layers of sand and mud were very heavy. This weight turned the sand and mud into sedimentary rocks. Heat from the Earth and the weight of the rocks caused the dead plants and animals to change into oil.

4. The oil slowly moved up through pores, or small holes, in the layers of rocks. In some cases, it came to rocks with no pores and so was trapped. It is from those traps that oil is drilled out.

5. To get the oil, an oil company must first drill down to it. First, a rig is set up to support the drill. Then, a well is drilled into the ground until the oil is reached. If the oilfield is in the sea, then offshore rigs are used.


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