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fossils

Fossil
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Fossil

Remains of organisms that lived long, long ago, fossils provide important clues to the past. Hard structures, such as bones, teeth, and seeds, preserve better in layers of sediment, where most fossils occur.

Fossilized signs of an organism’s presence — including footprints, burrow tunnels, and even poop — are called trace fossils.

National Geographic
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Fossil Fabricator

Fossil Fabricator

Fossils don’t come easily. In this game, you choose the circumstances of your organism’s death and “afterlife” to see if you can make it a fossil. More...

Game
Wonderville
How a Fossil Forms

How a Fossil Forms

Most animals and plants simply rot when they die — but if the conditions are just right, a fossil can form. Take a look. More...

Article
Science News for Students
Pyrite “Disease”

Pyrite “Disease”

You would think an organism preserved as a fossil would last indefinitely. Explore how in an attack of high humidity, fossils fall prey to pyrite disease. More...

Article
AMNH
The 4-Winged Dinosaur

The 4-Winged Dinosaur

A treasure trove of fossils that formed in volcanic ash in eastern China yielded one of the most spectacular — and controversial — fossil finds ever: the feathered, 4-winged microraptor. More...

Video
NOVA/PBS
The 4-Winged Dinosaur: Fossils of the Cretaceous

The 4-Winged Dinosaur: Fossils of the Cretaceous

Frogs and turtles and dragonflies…oh my! These familiar creatures, fossilized in eastern China’s volcanic ash, were upstaged by the 4-winged dinosaur find, but they get a shout-out here. More...

Interactive
NOVA/PBS
Who Dung It? Can You Match the Poop with the Poopetrator?

Who Dung It? Can You Match the Poop with the Poopetrator?

Coprolites, or fossilized poop, give valuable information about past environments, climate and diet. Try to pair the fossil poop with the pooper. More...

Interactive
BBC
Ancient Crayfish Fossils Unravel Evolution Mystery

Ancient Crayfish Fossils Unravel Evolution Mystery

The discovery of 106-million-year-old crayfish fossils in Australia fills a huge gap in their evolutionary history in the Southern Hemisphere. Read all about it. More...

Article
National Geographic
Dating Fossils in the Rocks

Dating Fossils in the Rocks

It's easy to tell the ages of skulls and other bones found in a type of sedimentary rock called tuff. Tuff contains radioactive elements that make it ideal for radiometric dating. More...

Article
National Geographic
Expedition to East Greenland: Fossil Plant Image Gallery

Expedition to East Greenland: Fossil Plant Image Gallery

Plant fossils are more rare than animal fossils. Fronds, leaves, and stems are not as often preserved. Click through these beautiful images from Greenland. More...

Images
The Field Museum
Fossil Folklore

Fossil Folklore

Do fossils have magical or healing powers? Some cultures have held those beliefs. Check them out here. More...

Article
Natural History Museum, London
Fossil Forensics: Interactive

Fossil Forensics: Interactive

Fossils of early humans reveal how they lived and died, the dangers they faced, what they ate — and what ate them! Investigate the clues in the bones.
More...

Interactive
Smithsonian
Fossil Tour

Fossil Tour

By the time you finish the fossil tour in this interactive, you’ll know so much you could be a tour guide! See for yourself. More...

Interactive
University of California, Berkeley
Fossils

Fossils

Fossilization is a relatively rare event — near-perfect conditions are needed for an organism to become a fossil. Explore this awesome process. More...

Video
BBC
Hunting for Fossils: A Student in Kenya

Hunting for Fossils: A Student in Kenya

What’s it like to search for fossils at Lake Turkana in Kenya, known as the cradle of human life? Learn the drill from a grad student in paleoanthropology. More...

Video
National Geographic
Mystery Skull Interactive

Mystery Skull Interactive

Can you tell the difference between a Neanderthal skull and a Homo erectus? See if you have what it takes to be a paleoanthropologist. More...

Interactive
Smithsonian
Paleontology’s Most Famous Missing Links

Paleontology’s Most Famous Missing Links

Missing links are the transitional fossils scientists hope to find to connect the fossil’s ancestors to its descendants. Click through this gallery of famous missing links that no longer are missing! More...

Images
Popular Science
Scientist Profile: Paleontologist

Scientist Profile: Paleontologist

Gary Takeuchi's childhood was a muddy one; he was always digging in his backyard. Today, he digs in the Los Angeles area for bones, fossils, and other remnants of prehistoric life. More...

Profile
DragonflyTV/PBS
Skeleton Jigsaws

Skeleton Jigsaws

You might be good with puzzles, but what about piecing together entire fossilized skeletons of beasts long dead? See if you can work your way up to "Professional Anatomist." More...

Game
BBC
The Oldest Fossil Insect in the World

The Oldest Fossil Insect in the World

A fossil collected in a Scottish village in 1909 sat for 60 years in London’s Natural History Museum, until American paleontologists asked to borrow it for study. Say hello to the world’s oldest fossil insect! More...

Article
Natural History Museum, London

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