Life of the Past

Life of the past left traces. These traces are called fossils. It is only by these traces that we can reconstruct life of the past. Fossils, however, are not easy to find. In most cases, fossils are not visible at the surface, but reveal themselves in other ways. In the case of Vatera, the geology indicated that once there was a river. Dead animals, carcasses and the like, are transported by river waters, till somewhere they get stuck in a curve or at an obstacle like a tree trunk.

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Dead trees in rivers form obstacles, and objects get stuck around it.
 

Gradually, sediments cover the remains, and they may become petrified. If you are lucky and you excavate at such an ancient river side, you may find fossils. Between Vatera and Vrissa, about eight sites with fossils were found, all around latitude 39˚ 2'  N and longitude 26˚ 13' E.

 

But that’s not enough. The bare fossils tell only about the bones themselves. To be able to say more, we need to compare the fossil bones with bones of the animals of today. The differences and similarities help paleobiologist to reconstruct the animals of the past. Shapes of bones and features of joints often even tell how the animals walked like. Teeth inform us about the food the animals were eating. Fossil plants, seeds and pollen, the realm of paleobotany, can confirm this. With the various reconstructed animals, together with information from paleobotany and geology, we can reconstruct the past of the region: its landscape, climate, flora and fauna.

 

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The anatomy of living animals give us clues to interprete life of the past.