Fossils – veritable treasures reaching back to the dawn of time ¬– tell tales of vanished worlds. They are traces left behind by early forms of life. Much like crime scene investigators, palaeontologists use such traces to piece together the history of life on our planet. Such evidence ¬– including seeds, shells, teeth, bones, other evidence of action and movement (such as the “tracks” created by the passage of dinosaurs) and signs of mass extinctions ¬– shed light on the delicate balance on which life on Earth relies.
Raffaele Sardella teaches Palaeontology at the Sapienza University in Rome.