Life on Earth has been evolving and interacting with the surface and atmosphere for almost four billion years. Fossils provide a powerful tool in the study of the Earth and its history. They also provide important data for evolutionary studies and contribute to our understanding of the extinction of organisms and the origins of modern biodiversity. Introduces the study of fossils in a simple and straightforward manner. Short chapters introduce the main topics in the current study of fossils. The most important fossil groups are discussed, from microfossils through invertebrates to vertebrates and plants, followed by a brief narrative of life on earth. Diagrams are central to the book and allow the reader to see most of the important data 'at a glance'. Each topic covers two pages and provides a self-contained suite of information or a starting point for future study.