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Fossil Definition

A fossil is preserved remains or traces of ancient plant and animal life. For example, a dinosaur bone.

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The Fossil Record

Fun Facts

  • Fossils can form in sediments that later harden into rock.
  • Most fossils are the preserved evidence of prehistoric life, not the remains of the organism itself.
  • Insects can be preserved by becoming trapped in amber.

Why Do We Need To Know About Fossil

Learning about fossils helps us know the history of life on Earth and shows us why this knowledge is important for some science jobs. Scientists, especially those called paleontologists, look at fossils to understand how living things changed over time. This helps us learn about how life used to be, the different animals and plants that exist now, and how the environment is changing.

Museums are important because they keep fossils safe and let both the public and scientists learn from them. If you’re interested in studying fossils or working in a museum, these could be good jobs for you. Looking for fossils in places like Utah is exciting because it involves going outside to find them and then studying them in a lab to learn the stories they tell about our planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are fossils discovered?
Earth processes like erosion and earthquakes can move sediment from one location to another, often uncovering and exposing fossils. Scientists also concentrate their search efforts in areas that are known to have lots of fossils, like Utah.
How do trace fossils provide evidence of past life?
Trace fossils provide information about how an organism lived, including but not limited to how it moved, what it ate, and where it lived.
How do layers of rock provide information in the fossil record?
Over time, sediment forms layers beneath the Earth’s surface. The deeper fossils are found in the Earth’s crust, the older they are. The closer to the surface fossils are found, the younger they are.
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