Victorian Fossils And Oceanographic Change

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The relationship between Victorian fossils and oceanographic change over the last 50 million years

The relationship between Victorian fossils and oceanographic change over the last 50 million years


The essay illustrates the relationship between Victorian fossils and oceanographic change over the last 50 million years. First, the Victorian fossils are a window into Earth's history and the evolution of life. The Victorian fossil literally means something that has been “dug up,” but its modern meaning is being restricted to preserved evidence of past life. (MacFall, 1983, pp. 207) Such evidence may take the form of body fossils (both plant and animal), trace fossils or ichnofossils (physical features formed in rock due to animal-sediment interaction), and chemical trace fossils (chemical evidence of life processes preserved in minerals within the rocks). Victorian fossilization refers to the series of postmortem (after-death) processes that lead to development of a body, trace, or chemical fossil. For original hard parts (For example shell, skeleton, and teeth), which are composed of various kinds of organic minerals, fossilization may include replacement by new minerals, permineralization (filling open spaces with minerals). Fossil shells may be represented by external or internal (steinkern) sediment molds. Soft parts of plants or animals may also be generalized and preserved as fossils in the process of carbonization. Soft tissue can be preserved as fossil material under exceptional conditions where bacteria and moisture are excluded (e.g. fossils buried in glacial ice, anoxic peat bogs, and amber). While, on the other hand, within the Victorian oceanographic change, there is a wide variety of separate fields of scientific study, such as geology (including studies of marine and coastal sediments and studies of submarine tectonic plates and processes that affect coastal land forms), biology (for example marine zoology, ecology of marine species, and marine microbiology), geography and meteorology (particularly oceanic processes that affect weather and climate), astronomy (the effects of astronomical bodies on tidal forces), physics (including fluid dynamics, currents, the behavior of waves, the effect of temperature on marine waters, and the behavior of sound in water), and, finally, chemistry (for example, the density of marine water bodies and the study of dissolved substances in seawater and chemical pollution in marine waters) (Tomczak, 1999,pp. 31).


The Victorian fossils identified in the field is not immediately chiseled out of its matrix over the last 50 million years. First, photographs are taken to show the relationship of the fossil fragments, and the investigator notes the rock type and age, and the fossil's orientation. Then a block of the rock matrix that contains the entire Victorian fossil is cut out with a rock saw, wrapped in muslin, and again in wet plaster, a process known as jacketing. The jacketed fossils may additionally be stored in protective crates for air transport. In the laboratory, the external wrappings are removed, exposing the Victorian fossil in matrix. The technique used to remove the excess rock varies with the rock and fossil, but three methods are ...