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Fossils can also show us how major crises, such as mass extinctions, happened, and how life recovered after them.
If the fossils, or the dating of the fossils, could be shown to be inaccurate, all such information would have to be rejected as unsafe.
Paleontologists now apply sophisticated mathematical techniques to assess the relative quality of particular fossil successions, as well as the entire fossil record.
These demonstrate that, of course, we do not know everything (and clearly never will), but we know enough.
See our current news blog: Digging the Fossil Record Also check out our plans for our Deep Time exhibit hall, to open in 2019 And check out the links on the side bar to the left.
Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.
He holds the Chair in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Bristol, UK, in addition to chairing the Masters program in paleobiology at the university.
He has written some 30 books on dinosaurs and paleobiology, ranging from professional tomes to popular kids’ books. Learn the facts in Evolution 101, browse the resource library, read about evolution in the news, or discover a wealth of materials to help educate others about evolution and related concepts—it’s all right here!
We are currently working on a new website that will update many of our older web pages.For example, it has been known since the 1960s that the famous Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, the line marking the end of the dinosaurs, was 65 million years old.Repeated recalibrations and retests, using ever more sophisticated techniques and equipment, cannot shift that date. With modern, extremely precise, methods, error bars are often only 1% or so.Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.