How does the fossil record support the theory of evolution?

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John C. Share
Mar 4, 2015

The fossil record shows that organisms adapt to changing environments or needs over time.

That is to say organisms preserved in the sedimentary rock strata have gone through physical changes as their living conditions changed. Such changes include the change from creatures with toes to those that now have hoofed feet (horses for example). Paleontologists have studied these changes and compared the fossil bones to those of modern living creatures.

The sedimentary record was assembled beginning with a point at which there was no life on Earth. Strata containing well rounded glacial cobbles are thousands of millions years old. Then about 600 or so million years ago remains of life forms began accumulating in the rock record, mostly in fine-grained shale and siltstone that were formed from sedimentary clay, mud, and silt. Marine creatures may be preserved in limestone and dolostone - rocks that formed from ooze-like sediments which accumulated deep in ocean waters.

Scientists have described the creatures in extreme detail, noting both the changes that occur in body parts and those that went unchanged. Looking back through the sedimentary accumulation is how the fossil record helps prove that horses toes evolved into hooves, bat's wings evolved from fingered hands, and a whale's flippers evolved from legs and feet.

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