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In this laboratory exercise (2 hours), students explore the Proterozoic fossil record by examining two samples of microfossils, preserved in chert) and numerous samples of stromatolites. The laboratory exercise coincides with lecture discussions on the early history of life, and serves to illustrate the paleontological record of the Proterozoic. This exercise is the first laboratory exercise in the course that asks students to engage with and speculate upon the environmental and biological causes of the observed fossil record. The students' goal is to be able to identify some of the main environmental factors that combine to produce the diversity of stromatolite forms.
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