News Detective: Hunting for oil and fossils

Hunting for oil — and fossils

Looking at molecular fossils allows scientists to peer back into the earliest history of life. Large fossils like imprints in rocks no longer survive from this time period, so scientists must study the chemical traces left behind by these ancient animals. “It seems to be the method that shows the most promise for showing the true origins of animals,” says Andrew Knoll, a paleontologist at Harvard University.

Scientists have been using molecular fossils for thi...

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