Paleontology: Fossils, Fossils, Fossils!

Paleontologists are geologists and scientists who specialize in the study of fossils. Fossils help to tell the story of our great Earth. Almost all fossils are found in sedimentary rock such as shale, limestone, and sandstone. A fossil is formed when an animal or plant dies and is quickly buried by sediment before it has time to decay. The hard parts of the animal or plant such as shells, bone and wood are fossilized in the rock formed from the sediment.

Paleontologists search for fossils as clues to what early life on Earth was like. From fossils we can tell what plants and animals roamed the Earth and lived in the oceans. We can even tell what the animals ate and how they lived. Some fossils can even be used to map the location of a specific rock formation over many, many miles.

Plant and Animal Fossils

Both plant and animals that lived on land and in the water can be found as fossils. Some plants and animals that have been found as fossils are still in existence today but others died out long ago. For example, sponges and corals are still in existence today but one of the most famous fossils, the trilobite, died out around 500 million years ago.

Dinosaurs

Perhaps the most famous and most interesting of all animals that have lived on the Earth are the dinosaurs. To date, scientists have discovered and named about 700 species of dinosaurs although many people think that there are hundreds more that remain to be discovered. The smallest dinosaurs that have been discovered are about the size of a chicken. The largest dinosaurs that have been discovered are as big as two school buses! Dinosaurs are amazing animals because of their vast differences in size, shape, eating habits and survival methods. Searching for and learning about these prehistoric creatures can be one of the most rewarding and interesting professions or hobbies known today.

Visit MiniMeGeology today to check out our selection of fossils!

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