Flashcards in Paleontology and Dinosaurs Deck (18)
What's the difference between a geologist and a paleontologist?
Geologists study the structure and materials of the Earth; paleontologists use geology to study the history of the Earth and prehistoric life.
What does "strata" mean?
Define the Law of Superposition
Under normal circumstances, the deeper the strata, the older its fossils.
What can affect the Law of Superposition so that it isn't always true?
Movement of the tectonic plates - the shifting plates can cause faults that mess with the accuracy of the Law of Superposition. We use geology to determine if that's the case.
Example: You are 16 years old. Is that your relative or absolute age?
Absolute. It is simply how long you've been around in chronological years.
Example: You came along after your parents (duh). Should we use absolute or relative age to describe that fact?
Relative. We don't know what the absolute ages of you or your parents are in this example. We can only say you're relatively younger than your parents
What's an index fossil?
A fossil that we use to determine the relative age of other fossils in that layer
What's the defining feature of a good index fossil?
It can be found all over the world in one layer horizontally, but no more than one layer vertically.
What is radiometric dating?
Using the half-life of an element as a gauge for the absolute age of a fossil
Which is longest: Era, period, or epoch?
Which era contained the dinosaurs?
the Mesozoic era; the "in-between/middle" era
Which period of the Mesozoic saw a huge increase in dinosaur size and diversity?
The Jurassic period
Which came first: the Cretaceous or the Triassic?
What does the word "dinosaur" mean?
Dinosaur is a specific classification. What was one of the defining characteristics of dinosaurs?
Their open hip joint
What do the prefixes "ptero-" and "ichthyo-" in pterosaur and ichthyosaur mean?
"wings/flying" and "fish, fish-like"
What is a trace fossil?
An imprint fossil, like a footprint or a mold of a dinosaur's body rather than its actual body