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Paleontologists estimate that fewer than 10% of all the organisms alive today will be preserved as fossils.

Remember, not all types of organisms preserve well.


Insects make up a very large percentage of all animals, but very few of them are likely to be preserved as fossils.


On the other hand, organisms like vertebrates will leave a more complete record of their existence, even though they are less abundant.

Paleontologists keep this in mind when interpreting fossil evidence so that they can get a more accurate picture of life in the past.

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Getting into the Fossil Record What is the Fossil Record? Becoming a Fossil Protection from Destruction Hardness of Structures Where Death Occurs