When paleontologists excavated a mass of ancient soil in eastern Turkey, they stumbled across a strange, oddly shaped stone.
It turned out to be an ancient tree trunk.
The discovery of such a strange structure at the bottom of the earth’s crust may be the earliest known evidence of life in the ancient world.
That discovery is part of a bigger picture of the history of the early Earth, and suggests that life is alive and well in the deep.
But what we know from the fossil record suggests that our early ancestors weren’t alone in the cosmos.
The fossils we have are only a tiny fraction of the fossils we will find in the distant future.
In fact, we’re likely to be lucky to find even one.
The fossil record is limited to a tiny sliver of the solar system.
The rest of the planets are in an era when life as we know it was already underway.
But our own planet is just a small sliver away from that age.
What is the fossil history of our early Earth?
Fossils of the first Earth, billions of years ago The earliest known fossils of life are those that survive the breakup of the Earth into pieces.
Fossils like this are called metasomites, after the Greek word for “tree.”
Some scientists think the first metasomes were made by microbial organisms that survived a sudden extinction.
Other researchers think they came from a volcanic eruption that spewed out sulfur-rich material.
But the oldest known fossils date to the early Triassic period, a time of rapid growth for life.
Metasomite fossils are the earliest fossils of the earliest life on Earth, known as protists.
The earliest fossilized protists are called diatomids, after a Greek word meaning “one that moves.”
These early protists lived in symbiosis with the dinosaurs, the ancestors of modern birds.
At the time, they were more primitive than modern birds, and they had a hard time surviving harsh environments.
The dinosaurs were able to keep them in check because the ancient protists had a lot of energy.
As life evolved, they evolved a complex set of genes that helped them survive in the harsh environment.
These genes, which we now call the diatoms, helped them to break down their environment and build their own body and organs.
By the time the dinosaurs died, the protists, with the help of the diatomid genes, had developed organs and feathers.
It’s now known that the diateons also made feathers.
Today, the fossils in the Middle Triassic, called the Carboniferous, date to about 120 million years ago.
By comparison, modern birds were just a few hundred million years old at the time.
A new study has shed light on this evolution of the proto-bird.
The team has discovered that the oldest fossils of these protists date to at least 100 million years after the end of the Triassic.
These fossils are called Archaeopteryx, after one of the oldest dinosaurs.
Archaeopterosaurs lived about 70 million years before dinosaurs.
They lived in the watery seas of the oceans and on land.
Archaeopsteryx lived in a very similar way to modern birds today.
Like modern birds that have evolved from a small group of dinosaurs, Archaeopters had feathers on their bodies.
But unlike modern birds with feathers, Archaeopsterosaurs had feathers that were completely covered in scales.
These scales made them look like modern birds and made them very hard to see.
Archaeopus fossils date from about 140 million years earlier.
These ancient protist fossils are one of two groups of fossils that date to more than 200 million years.
These other two fossils are known as the early Jurassic and early Cretaceous.
Archaeolipids, the other group of fossil dinosaurs, lived between 100 million and 65 million years later.
Archaeozoans, the first dinosaurs, died out around 65 million to 55 million years in the Earth’s history.
These dinosaurs were smaller than Archaeoptera.
And unlike Archaeopteses, they didn’t have feathers.
This was all a long time ago.
The oldest known fossil of a modern bird was a fossil called a dromaeosaur.
Dromaeosaurs were birds with a wing-like skeleton, and some of these fossils date back to about 100 million to 65 million more years ago, making them the earliest dinosaurs.
The dromasaur was a feathered dinosaur that lived in water.
Archaeodemes, the earliest birds, were the last dinosaurs.
Dromeosaurs and dromapods had wings and a body like modern-day birds.
This is the age that modern birds evolved.
They have feathers and feathers are the primary means of flight.
Dromaosaurs were dinosaurs that were the first birds to fly.
They had the ability to fly by using two appendages on their hind legs, called talons.
Dinosaurs like these also lived at the beginning of the Cretan period, which lasted between 65 million and