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CRUCIAL MOMENTS IN TIMELife originated in seas, and the African fossil record documents the origin of multicellular organisms two billion years ago in what is today Franceville, a city in Gabon.
We based our findings on an organic compound called oleanane, which we found in the fossil record.
We see much evidence from the fossil record suggesting that sexual selection played a major role in the evolution of many extinct groups," says Dr Naish, of the University's Vertebrate Palaeontology Research Group.
From these isolated fossil fragments, some 400 million years old, fast-forward to a period known as the Carboniferous, 300 to 330 million years ago, and the fossil record teems with insects.
But without the fossil record, we really have no scale to measure the significance of the impact we are having.
Shanan Peters, an assistant professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said fossil record could tell us a great deal about the true history and drivers of biodiversity on Earth.
More-recent gaps in the fossil record at most sites in the area--one between 5,000 and 4,000 years ago, and another between 2,000 and 1,100 years ago--indicate periods when ocean conditions weren't favorable for penguin breeding and the climate was substantially cooler than it is now, the researchers speculate.
Researchers from the University of Chicago, West Virginia University, and The Ohio State University found that the mass extinction known as the Hangenberg event produced a "natural experiment" in the fossil record with results that mirror modern observations about predator-prey relationships.
With this approach, scientists can examine the fossil record in several different ways to piece together the lives of ancient people.
Now, a new research pushes back the age of angiosperms to 215 million years ago, some 25 to 75 million years earlier than either the fossil record or previous molecular studies suggest.
The author traces the critical geological periods during which life emerged, examining each period's fossil record for clues to the evolution of certain body plans, He explains how dinosaur metabolism, form, and reproduction were uniquely suited for this period in Earth's history, Ward asserts that modern bird flight is a vestige of the dinosaurs' respiratory system becoming adapted to low-oxygen air.
He and his colleagues examined the fossil record to find the earliest evidence of benthic creatures - animals that live on the seafloor.