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Extinct Definition

Extinct means a living thing that is no longer found alive anywhere on earth today. For example, dinosaurs are extinct.

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Fossils & Extinction

Fun Facts

  • Saber-toothed cat went extinct about 11,000 years ago.
  • Dire wolf went extinct about 10,000 years ago.
  • Hunting, habitat loss, and pollution are common reasons why organisms go extinct today.

Why Do We Need To Know About Extinct

Studying extinction helps us understand how living things change over time and why different kinds of animals and plants exist or disappear. Fossils, which are remains of ancient life, are very important for scientists to learn about what the Earth was like long ago. They help us figure out how and why some species no longer exist.

This learning can lead to jobs like working with fossils in museums, protecting wildlife, or studying how to keep the environment safe. By looking at fossils, from big dinosaurs to tiny remains invisible to the eye, scientists can learn about the weather and living conditions of the past. This helps them take care of our planet today and understand how to deal with changes in our climate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are so many fossils found in the La Brea Tar Pits fossil dig site?
Many animals became trapped in a thick, sticky liquid called asphalt that seeped through cracks at the Earth’s surface. They got stuck and died and their bones were preserved.
What tools are used to remove fossils from the rock?
Dental picks are used to carefully scrape away small amounts of rock from the fossil. Other tools include brushes to sweep away dirt and a chisel and hammer, which is used to chip away at harder surfaces.
What happens to the fossils after they are removed from the tar pit?
When fossils are dug out of the ground, they still have rock or asphalt around them. The fossils are taken to a lab to be further cleaned before they are categorized and studied.
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