Read the passages given below and answer the questions that follow them:
Scientists who study the rocks, minerals, landforms and the history of the earth can tell what kind of plants and animals lived on the earth a long time ago. These scientists are called geologists. One way that they are able to do this is by the study of fossils. Fossils may be the actual remains of plants or animals, impressions of them in rock, or the tracks of animals as they walked or crawled.
Most fossils are formed in the waters covering the continental shelves, in warm, shallow, inland, seas, and in large swamps that covered large parts of the land in post geologic time. When the animals of these waters die, their remains are deposited on the floor of the water body where the fleshy part of the animal decays. The skeletal portion of the body is partially replaced by minerals and other sediments. If this takes place in just the right manner, a fossil is formed. Since rock sediments are Involved in the formation of fossils, it is not surprising that one finds many fossils in sedimentary rock layers. Plant fossils are found in the areas that once swamped. There are four principal kinds of fossils: original remains, replaced remains, moulds and casts, and impressions.
In some instances, fossils represent the actual remains of plants and animals. On the shores of the Baltic Sea in Europe, insects of millions of years ago have been found perfectly preserved in the hardened resin of pine trees upon which they crawled. This hardened resin is called Amber. Other examples of original remains are the shells of shellfish which become consolidated or pressed together to form fossil varieties of limestone, and the bones and teeth of dinosaurs and other ancient animals.
Another type of original remains may be found at Rancho La Brea, near Los Angeles, California, where there are asphalt pits containing the bones of thousands of animals. They were caught while looking for water or trying to cross the oil-covered lakes of asphalt. As they cried out in their death struggle, their enemies were attracted to the sticky mass and also trapped. Then the bodies sank down into the asphalt.
Many fossils no longer contain the original materials of which they were made, although they may look unchanged. Groundwater may replace the lime shells and bones with such hard minerals as silica and iron pyrite. The petrified trees of Arizona are an example of this formation. They were formed when groundwater slowly replaced the decaying wood of these buried trees and silica.
I. Answer briefly:
1. Who are geologists and what is their job?
2. What are fossils and how are they formed?
3. Give two examples of original remains of fossils.
4. Give your comments on the petrified trees of Arizona.
1. The word similar in meaning to ‘remains’ is:
(a) parts that are left (b) rock (c) dead (d) alive
2. The word opposite in meaning to ‘consolidated’ is:
(a) amalgamated (b) separated (c) combined (d) isolated
3. The adjective form of ‘impression’ is:
(a) impress (b) impressively (c) impressive (d) none of these
4. The verb form of ‘original’ is:
(a) originate (b) originally (c) origination (d) originality
I.1. Scientists who study rocks, minerals, landforms and the history of the earth are called geologists. This job is to study fossils, the actual remains of plants and animals.
2. Fossils are the actual remains of plants and animals and their impressions in the rocks or in the tracks. When animals die in water, their remains are preserved in the hardened resins and rocks.
3. Insects of millions of years ago are found perfectly preserved in the hardened resin of pine trees upon which they crawled on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The shells of shellfish and the asphalt pits in California containing the bones of animals are other examples of original remains of fossils.
4. Many fossils may look unchanged but they no longer contain the original materials. The petrified trees of Arizona are examples of this formation. They were formed when groundwater slowly replaced the decaying wood of those buried trees and silica.
II.1. (d) parts that are left
2. (b) separated
3. (c) impressive
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