WSGS Adds Paleontology Page

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Paleontology

Wyoming’s Fossil Record

 

WYOMING — Paleontology is a science dealing with the life of past geological periods as known from fossil remains. Many fossils have been discovered in Wyoming, and the Wyoming State Geological Survey has recently added a paleontology page to their website.

Precambrian Fossil Record

The Precambrian Era began with the formation of the earth and lasted about 3.5 billion years, which accounts for nearly 80% of the entire geologic time scale. Evidence of life appears in the early Archean eon, but the fossil record at that time is rare. By the late Archean, stromatolites (microbial mat-like structures) started to appear in the rock record. Stromatolites are the most common Precambrian fossils.

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In Wyoming, stromatolites are found in the Snowy Range (Medicine Bow Mountains) in the Nash Fork Formation of the Libby Creek Group. The stromatolites started out as microbial mats that colonized in a continental shelf environment. They are believed to have formed ~1.7 billion years ago (~1700 Ma).