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Paleontologists now use satellites to locate good fossil sites.
This Landsat image of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert allowed researchers to locate exposed sedimentary rocks.
The fossil record is our best clue to the history of life on Earth, and an important indicator of past climates and geological conditions as well.
In spite of the difficulties of preservation, billions of fossils have been discovered, examined, and identified by thousands of scientists.Marine animals that die near a river delta may be rapidly buried by river sediments.A storm at sea may shift sediment on the ocean floor, covering a body and helping to preserve its skeletal remains (Figure below).The fossil record consists almost entirely of the shells, bones, or other hard parts of animals.Mammal teeth are much more resistant than other bones, so a large portion of the mammal fossil record consists of teeth. Quick burial is essential because most decay and fragmentation occurs at the surface.
Throughout human history, people have discovered fossils and wondered what they are and what they represent.