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USGS CMG InfoBank: Reconstructing an Environment

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Comment: 20:01 - 21:07 (01:06)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 11. Evolution Through Time
Keywords: "Shelley M. Cox", fossil, soil, plant, shell, insect, microfossil, climate, mouse, gopher, environment

Our transcription: After excavation, the bones are taken to the nearby lab for analysis.
Examining the material around the bones is as important as identifying the bones themselves.
All of the soil surrounding that large a bone, when it's cleaned off, will be gone through underneath the magnifying glass looking for the small bones, and plants, and shells, and insect material.
Microfossils are that tool that you need to really reconstruct an environment.
They give you much more information about rainfall and climate changes than large bones do.
Large animals didn't necessarily live here -- they just died here.
Whereas, a mouse or a gopher probably spent its entire life right within the area of the park.
So it is very important that we do collect all of these small things.

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