Mysteries of Evolution
Enter the world of forensic science to explore the fossil clues of the past. Reflect on the questions that may be asked of the fossil evidence. Every answer may lead to more questions; for science is about questions. As in a crime scene, we cannot go back to the original event, but we can develop ideas to help us understand the past and inform the future. These ideas only represent theories that may or may not be correct. When further evidence is found, these theories may be supported or rejected. For many extinct organisms the cause of their extinction may remain unknown.
The history of life is a record of origin and extinction. Animals and plants leave a trail of evidence in the form of fossils. These are the preserved fragments of organisms that scientists study to understand the Earth’s past. Humans also leave a trail of evidence in the form of photographs, documents and artifacts. Exploring evidence is the key to understanding the past and this understanding may help us deter future extinctions.
To study fossil evidence, scientists rely on forensic techniques. They use knowledge about the flora, fauna, and environments in the present to make the best possible theories to understand the history of Earth’s evolution.