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EarthA Tenant's Manual$
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Frank H. T. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801478239

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801478239.001.0001

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The Living Planet

The Living Planet

Chapter:
(p.132) Chapter 12 The Living Planet
Source:
Earth
Author(s):

Frank H. T. Rhodes

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801478239.003.0012

This chapter explores the development of prehistoric life. It primarily incorporates paleontological evidence into the discussion, at the same time emphasizing that even such evidence can only provide a limited glimpse into living organisms from prehistory. This chapter is thus an overview of the history of life on Earth—by examining fossils, which are themselves the remains, or direct indications of, prehistoric life, the chapter seeks out the presence of once-living things preserved and embedded in rocks. It also presents the challenges to examining fossils, for their preservation is necessarily partial—in that soft tissues and delicate structures are rarely preserved—and selective, in that animals in certain habitats are more likely to be preserved than others. Such specimens are furthermore rare and prone to environmental hazards and inaccessibility.

Keywords:   paleontology, prehistoric life, fossils, prehistory

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