Minerals, Metals, and Other Materials

Rocks and Minerals

How old are fossils?

The oldest known fossils are of bacteria that left their impressions approximately 3.5 billion years ago. The oldest animal fossils are of invertebrates that lived approximately 700 million years ago. The largest number of fossils come from the Cambrian period of 505–590 million years ago, when living organisms began to develop skeletons and hard parts. Since these parts tended to last longer than ordinary tissue, they were more likely to be preserved in clay and become fossilized.


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