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19 terms

Biology Pearson Textbook Vocab words Chapter 17

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paleontologist
scientist who studies fossils
fossil record
information about past life, including the structure of organisms, what they ate, what ate them, in what environment they lived, and the order in which they lived
extinct
term used to refer to a species that has died out
relative dating
method of determining the age of a fossil by comparing its placement with that of fossils in other layers of rock
index fossil
distinctive fossil used to compare the relative ages of fossils
half-life
length of time required for half of the radioactive atoms in a sample to decay
radioactive dating
technique in which scientists calculate the age of a sample based on the amount of remaining radioactive isotopes it contains
geologic time scale
scale used by paleontologists to represent evolutionary time
era
one of several subdivisions of the time between the Precambrian and the present
period
unit of time into which eras are subdivided
proteinoid microsphere
tiny bubble, formed of large organic molecules, that has some characteristics of a cell
microfossil
microscopic fossil
endosymbiotic theory
theory that eukaryotic cells formed from a symbiosis among several different prokaryotic organisms
mass extinction
event in which many types of living things become extinct at the same time
macroevolution
large-scale evolutionary changes that take place over long periods of time
adaptive radiation
process by which a single species or small group of species evolves into several different forms that live in different ways; rapid growth in the diversity of a group of organisms
convergent evolution
process by which unrelated organisms independently evolve similarities when adapting to similar environments
coevolution
process by which two species evolve in response to changes in each other
punctuated equilibrium
pattern of evolution in which long stable periods are interrupted by brief periods of more rapid change