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Many species may vanish without fossil trace: study

Image Courtesy: Google

According to the recent study being carried out, following the recent sixth mass extinction many of the species are being found out to be getting extinct without any of the fossil record being left behind. The prime reason being considered for the leaving behind the fossil record is taken as the size of the species. Professor Roy Plotnick from the University of Illinois located at the Chicago commenting over the same says that, comparing the current crisis of biodiversity which is often being called as the sixth extinction with those of the geological past requires equivalent data.

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and two colleagues analyzed the “Red List” of endangered species, comparing it to the existing fossil. (Image Courtesy: Google)
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and two colleagues analyzed the “Red List” of endangered species, comparing it to the existing fossil. (Image Courtesy: Google)

Fossils: Basics

Fossils are the left over the of the extinct species which helps us in understanding the physical structure of the species. These fossils on detailed study also give some of the important characteristics of the species like their behaviour, how they used to live, what they ate, etc. It also gives detailed analysis of the bodily structure of the species and their about their metabolism system which can be used for the comparision with the current species.

Fossils also helps in getting the DNA structure of the species which can further be used for the detailed structure analysis of the species.

When fossils disappear, the world changes. Today's mass rarity of marine and terrestrial species may already have a mass extinction-like fossil record. (Image Courtesy: Google)
When fossils disappear, the world changes. Today’s mass rarity of marine and terrestrial species may already have a mass extinction-like fossil record. (Image Courtesy: Google)

Comparision: Endangered to those leaving the Fossil record

Researchers have opted out for the a kind of list known as ‘red list’ which is referring to the species which are likely to get extinct in near future without leaving behind any of the mark of their existence. They have made this list with the help of the several ecological databases of the living species and also three of the paleontological databases of the catalogued fossils. They have carried out the statistical analysis for the same. About more than 85 percent of the mammal species were being found to be possessing higher risk of extinction with a lack of the fossil record.

Those who were being incorporated in the list of possessing higher risk of getting extinct were possessing half the possibility of being incorporated into the fossil record as compared to those possessing lower risks. The animals which were being least likely to be found as fossils includes the small, cute and the fuzzy ones, like the rodents and the bats, according to Mr. Plotnick. Further adding to the same he says that size is also one of the major factor which will be affecting the left over of the fossils. Greater the size more are the chances of leaving behind the fossil record which is same as those possessing larger geographical area coverage more likely to left fossil record behind.

Fossils: The hard bound record of the extinct species

Many of the species which have become extinct over the time doesn’t even carry a fossilized record over the earth. Without having a fossilized record or a written record of the species it is difficult to know in future about the complete details of the extinct species. Adding to the same Mr. Plotnick says, that there are even the species which are going to be extinct today but have never been described. Others are going to be extinct but are being known only because someone wrote down about them. All such species might be lost in future if all the historical record about them is being lost.

The fossil records are being much more durable than any of the human records. Clay tablets lasts longer than the books. Even if you keep all the records in electronic media it won’t be lasting for hundreds of years but the fossils will last.

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