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Thread: Why is there no fossilized bones from recent time?

  1. #1 Why is there no fossilized bones from recent time? 
    Forum Freshman Tyrannosaurus Rex's Avatar
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    Hi everyone,

    I was thinking about fosilization,and i asked myself,why is there no fossilized bones from etc. lion in Africa that is only few hundred years old?
    Also what is "youngest" fossil that paleontologists find?


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    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Fossils are defined as being 10,000 years or older. The process takes a while so a 100 year old lion probably won't have fossilized.


    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman Tyrannosaurus Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Fossils are defined as being 10,000 years or older. The process takes a while so a 100 year old lion probably won't have fossilized.
    Thanks for help
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    As already noted, the process is VERY time dependent, and most under about 10,000 years old or so are classified as sub-fossils.
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    Subfossils are not quite fossils because they are not completely mineralized and they still have some organic matter in them. Subfossils can be quite young or quite old.
    There is a recently formed subfossil example which is an Irish Elk.
    There have also been dinosaur remains found that still had organic traces in the cores of the fossils, so in one sense they would qualify as subfossils as well.

    Subfossil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    in addition to not being formed yet if all lions in africa vanished and lion fossils beneath the soil appeared where they stood, the odds that you would find lion fossils by walking up to a given location and digging would imo be small. you could potentially find no lion fossils at all after several digs even if all lions were fossils.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Subfossils are not quite fossils because they are not completely mineralized and they still have some organic matter in them. Subfossils can be quite young or quite old.
    There is a recently formed subfossil example which is an Irish Elk.
    There have also been dinosaur remains found that still had organic traces in the cores of the fossils, so in one sense they would qualify as subfossils as well.

    Subfossil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The organic traces are controversial at best right now.

    And as different conditions lead to differing fossilization rates, that is way I specified my statement with "most"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    The organic traces are controversial at best right now.

    And as different conditions lead to differing fossilization rates, that is way I specified my statement with "most"
    I thought it was just the idea they had found actual DNA samples that was in doubt.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    No, the possible cartilage/elestin from the T. rex is also questionable. As a note mummification is considered a form of fossilization, so the "mummified" Hadrosaur is fossil.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    in addition to not being formed yet if all lions in africa vanished and lion fossils beneath the soil appeared where they stood, the odds that you would find lion fossils by walking up to a given location and digging would imo be small. you could potentially find no lion fossils at all after several digs even if all lions were fossils.
    Fortunately for us, far more lions will have died over millions of years than if they all died at once. Unfortunately, they will be deep enough after that time that finding them can still be very difficult.
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    Most fossils are discovered by accident or merely knowing where to look. As Africa is very large, and with greatly changing environments over even the past few hundred thousand years or so, finding the immediate ancestor to lions is tricky. It could be under the Sahara, or in the Congo rainforest, who knows? Africa's [bad language deleted] huge, so it's difficult to locate.

    Looking at fossils in the homo genus, again, most have been discovered by accident and not on purpose. The only purposeful one I'd know is homo erectus, and even then the finder didn't call it that (I think pithecanthopus erectus).
    Last edited by adelady; May 4th, 2014 at 10:25 PM.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    I beg to differ that the fossils are found only by accident. The vast majority of fossils are found by paleontologists who have studied the geology and topography of an area and the fossil record of the organism they are looking for. Only then do they go out and start looking in the field. The appearance that its all by accident is a artifact of the medias fondness for reporting on the accidental findings, but not sending reporters on the hundreds of annual organized digs that paleontologists do.
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