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Traces of the past……

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What happened before

What happened before

Fossils are traces of things that happened long ago

Plants and animals can become fossils

We have only discovered a small number of the plants and animals from the past

Fossils are not the original, only a copy

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The most famous example of fossilized plants is petrified wood

Ferns, tree leaves, and other plants have been found, too

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The most famous fossils are of dinosaurs

There are also fossils of sea creatures and mammals

Sometimes many fossils are found in one place because of a flood, earthquake, or other disaster

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How fossils are found

How fossils are found

Fossils are often found by accident

Paleontologists and geologists use clues in the rocks to find good places to hunt for fossils

Excavating fossils is hard work, and must be done carefully

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How are fossils made?

How are fossils made?

A fossil is made when a plant or animal is covered quickly with mud or ash

The organism’s tissues are replaced over a long period of time with minerals from the soil it was buried in

Fossils can be dated by the layer of rock they were found in, or by radiocarbon dating

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Clues to the past

Clues to the past

Many fossils give us an idea of what life was like long ago

Plants give clues about the diet of animals

Animals give clues about the availability of plants and the climate when they lived

Many clues fit together to make a more complete picture of what the world was like long ago

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Can we ever really know?

Can we ever really know?

No matter how many clues we have, we can never really know what life was like long ago

We can make an educated guess, and fill in the gaps using what we know about life today

It’s fun to imagine what it was like when the dinosaurs lived. Try it next time you feel bored!


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