FOSSILS are at once fascinating and richly informative. They are used to date rock units and to gauge the passage of geologic time. Fossils furnish direct evidence about the nature of ancient environments and about the composition of past animal and plant communities. The fossil record provides the best information possible about the history of life and the course that evolution has followed. Moreover, to many people, fossils are natural images and sculptures of great beauty. Fossils have been...

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