The story of life on Earth is without peer in terms of complexity, plot-shift, character development, horror, and beauty. As is often stated, if played out again, the scenes would not repeat; dare say, there may not be any story at all!

All of us are interested in this story. Some of us ponder the events in order to bring clarity to our own lives. Some of us dedicate our life to unraveling the mysteries and events. Paleontologists provide the clues that are unearthed from the stony layers of our planet. This fossil information complements the information provided by biologists and other scientists, philosophers, and theologians.

This website has been set up in parallel with the display to provide to the public a testament to the value of the fossil record. Certainly not exhaustive, these humble stones provide some of the most important evidence ever collected to unravel the key events in the story of life—particularly, the first 3,300 million years of life on Earth, from the oldest recorded evidence to the "Cambrian Explosion."

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This display was created by Russell Shapiro and Emily Maass of the Geology Department of Gustavus Adophus College.

We greatly appreciate the following individuals for loan of specimens:

Dr. Stanley M. Awramik
University of California, Santa Barbara

Dr. Christopher M. Fedo
George Washington University

Dr. James W. Hagadorn
Amherst College, Massachusetts

For more information, contact Russell Shapiro at (507) 933-7307 or via e-mail.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this website has not been reviewed for accuracy. Though I have tried to incorporate the latest research there will likely be errors. Beware! If you find any corrections, or have other questions or comments, please e-mail me.


Quick Links to: Introduction Oldest Rocks on Earth Oldest Fossils Prokaryotes vs. Eukaryotes Oldest Eukaryotes Oxygenation of the Atmosphere Ediacaran Fauna Snowball Earth Oldest Skeletons Pre-Cambrian/Cambrian Boundary Links for more information