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Life Science Essay

marko201255


Published on November 28, 2014

Life Science Essay Radio metric dating works on the principle of isotopes changing from one element to another. This usually happens with elements that are unstable for example a carbon atom that has seven protons is likely to change into nitrogen. This change takes a long period of time and by examining the number of carbons to the number of nitrogen atoms we it is possible to accurately date the fossil, the more nitrogen atoms there are the older the fossil is, this process happens with other elements as well. Sometimes a fossil that is very complicated and different may be discovered such as the Archaeopteryx fossil. Archaeopteryx is a prehistoric bird, that is resembles many similarities between dinosaurs and birds and is thus believed to be the missing link between reptiles and birds, proving that birds did not just appear from nowhere but probably evolved from the dinosaurs. The creature’s only differences to a modern day bird were that it had teeth, a long bony tail, three claws on each wing, belly ribs and a sternum. However it had reduced fingers, hollow bones and feathers for flying which makes it more of a bird than a reptile. Although Archaeopteryx was a great discovery there have been many more discoveries of other fossils especially in South Africa. The first bear south of the Sahara was found in the West Coast Fossil Park including over 5 million other different fossils. Other fossils of early dinosaurs like the Euskelosaurus have also been found in the Eastern Cape near Ladybrand. Near Mooi River and Estcourt there have been numerous discoveries of cone-bearing plants such as the Glossopteris which probably responsible for the formation of South Africa’s largest coal deposits. In Barberton fossils of 3400 million year old bacteria have been uncovered. Even though all these fossils are of great importance to humans, none come close to the discoveries made at places like the Sterkfontein caves, the Cradle of Humankind and Taung near Kimberly. Here fossils resembling humans have fascinated people ever since they were discovered. Australopithecus Africanus STS 5 also known as Mrs. Ples was discovered in 1947 in Sterkfontein by Robert Broom and John T. Robinson. This species is believed to be the distant relatives of humans and the sex of Mrs. Ples is still not completely certain. Mrs. Ples Archaeopteryx