Alycia Stigall. Photo credit: Emily Mueting/Ohio University.
To become a fossil, many factors have to be in one’s favor. Where the creature lives and what the body is made of affects its chances of becoming a fossil. Shells and bone are much more likely to be preserved as fossils since they are typically the last part to decompose, but soft bodies can also be preserved, given the right environment.
“There is this very complicated series of steps required from being a creature that’s alive to being a creature that’s preserved in a rock,” said Alycia Stigall, professor of geological sciences.
For example, there are billions of worms on the planet, yet very few are fossilized because of their soft structure. And, despite their strong bones, road kill deer are unlikely to be fossilized because they seldom become buried before decomposing.
“It’s really interesting to think about what the odds are of becoming preserved as a fossil if an animal dies here versus there, or if it has this kind of body or that kind of body,” Stigall said.
Stigall will talk about how fossils are preserved at her Science Café, “Turning into Stone: A tale from life to death to the ultimate fossil,” at 5 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 2 in the Baker Center Front Room.
Science Cafés are part of Ohio University’s Café Series, Wednesdays at the Baker Center Front Room. The series provides a venue for students to informally share their interests during a conversational exchange with faculty presenters, staff and the Athens community. Free coffee is offered to the first 50 attendees, and participants who ask questions will win a free t-shirt.
The series is supported by the Ohio University Research Division and Sigma Xi.
Learn more! Watch the new 1-minute Café Series video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8IBC6nS4Ag
For a link to the live stream of the event and for a full schedule of fall semester speakers, visit http://www.ohio.edu/sciencecafe