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Fossils provide a unique view into the history of life by showing the
forms and features of life in the past. Fossils tell us how species
have changed across long periods of the Earth’s history. For instance,
in 1998, scientists found a fossil showing an animal at the transition
from sea creature to land creature. This tetrapod had a hand-like fin,
confirming a prediction of evolutionary biology. Though the fossil
record does not include every plant and animal that ever lived, it
provides substantial evidence for the common descent of life via
evolution. The fossil record is a remarkable gift for the study of
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