Chapter 4: A Trip Through Geologic Time

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Fossil

Preserved remains or traces of living things

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Sedimentary Rock

Type of rock made from hardened sediment

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Mold

Hollow area in sediment in the shape of an organism or part of an organism

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Cast

Solid copy of the shape of an organism

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Petrified Fossil

Fossil in which minerals replace all or part of an organism

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Carbon Film

Extremely thin coating of carbon on rock

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Trace Fossil

Provide evidence of the activities of ancient organisms

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Paleontologist

Scientist who studies fossils

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Scientific Theory

A well-tested concept that explains a wide range of observations

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Evolution

The gradual change in living things over long periods of time

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Extinct

Organisms that no longer exist and will never again live on earth

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Relative Age

Age of a rock compared to the ages of other rocks

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Absolute Age

The number of years since the rock formed

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Law of Superposition

The oldest layer of rock is at the bottom

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Extrusion

Lava that hardens on the surface. Always younger than the rocks below it

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Intrusion

Magma that pushes through bodies of rock and hardens underground. Always younger than the rocks around it

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Unconformity

Surface where new rock layers meet a much older rock surface beneath them

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Index Fossil

Help geologists match rock layers. Must be widely distributed and have only existed briefly

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Geologic Time Scale

A record of the life forms and geologic events in Earth's history

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Periods

Eras are divided into these time units

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Eras

Three long units of time

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Invertebrate

Animal without a backbone

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Vertebrate

Animal with a backbone

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Amphibian

Animal that lives part of its life on land and part of its life in water

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Reptile

Animal with scaly skin that lays eggs with tough, leathery shells

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Mass Extinction

Many types of living things become extinct at the same time

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Mammal

Warm-blooded vertebrate that feeds its young milk

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