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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Facts   >   Fossils

Dinosaur Fossils



Scientists know a lot about dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures because they have found fossils.

On this page, you can find more information about fossils:

What Are Fossils?



Fossils are preserved remains or traces of animals, plants and other organisms. They are generally found in rocks.

Dinosaur Teeth and Bone Fossils


Where Are Fossils Found?



Most fossils are found in sedimentary rocks that form from the deposits of sand and mud.


How Are Fossils Formed?



When an animal or plant dies, its body can get buried into sand or mud. Then, over ages (millions of years), the sand or mud gets compacted, and eventually turns to rock. Minerals can also leach into the animal's body, helping to preserve it.

Similarly, just as animals' bodies and plants can be preserved by this process of fossilization, so too can animals' nests, burrows, footprints, dung, etc.

Of course, most animals and plants that die are not preserved in this way. Likewise most nests, burrows, footprints, dung, etc., are also not preserved. It is far more likely that they are destroyed - for example, bodies can be eaten by scavengers or rot away, footprints can be washed away, and so forth. It is only rarely, when all the circumstances happen to be just right, that a fossil is formed.


What Kinds of Fossils Are There?



There are two kinds of fossils:
  1. Fossilized Body Parts

    These are fossils formed from parts of an animal such as:

    • Teeth

      Dinosaur Tooth Fossil

    • Bones

      Allosaurus Skull Fossil

    • Claws

    • Skin, scales, feathers, etc.

    • Soft tissues

    Since skin and soft tissues usually decay before being fossilized, the most common parts of animals to be preserved in this way are the toughest parts of the animal, especially teeth, and to a lesser extent bones.


  2. Trace Fossils

    Trace fossils (which technically known as "ichnofossils") are fossils which show the living activities of animals. Such fossils can include (for example):

    • Footprints

      Dinosaur footprint

    • Nests

    • Burrows,

    • Toothmarks,

    • Dung (known as "coprolites"),

      Coprolite (fossilized dung)

    • Gizzard stones (the stones which some animals swallowed to help digest their food)


Who Found The First Fossils?



From time to time, fossils in the ground are revealed by erosion - the wind or rain erodes rock, revealing fossils contained within. It is therefore likely than mankind has encountered fossils, including dinosaur fossils since ancient, perhaps even prehistoric times.
  • Some people think that dinosaur fossils found in this way, may perhaps have inspired legends of dragons.

  • One scholar (Adrienne Mayor of Stanford) has suggested that the legend of the griffin (a mythical beast which supposedly had the head and wings of an eagle, but the limbs and body of a lion), could have been inspired by fossils of Protoceratops.

    Greek drinking horn (rhyton) in the shape of a griffin, c.350 BCE:
    Greek drinking horn (rhyton) in the shape of a griffin, c.350 BCE
The first modern scientific description of a dinosaur fossil was written by William Buckland. Buckland wrote a paper in 1824 that was entitled: "Notice on the Megalosaurus or Great Fossil Lizard of Stonesfield".

Since then, many other scientists have contributed to finding, researching, dinosaur fossils.


Who Are Some Famous Fossil Hunters?



Many scientists (and quite a few amateur fossil-hunters too) have found fossils of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.

Fossils being cleaned and prepared at the Royal Tyrell Museum:
Fossils being cleaned and prepared at the Royal Tyrell Museum
Some of the most famous fossil hunters include:

Related Information & Resources


See Also

Books about Fossils


Here are some books from Amazon.com:

Disclosure: Products details and descriptions provided by Amazon.com. Our company may receive a payment if you purchase products from them after following a link from this website.

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist (Women in Science Biographies, Fossil Books for Kids, Feminist Picture Books, Dinosaur Gifts for Kids)
By Linda Skeers

Sourcebooks Explore
Released: July 7th, 2020
Hardcover (40 pages)

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist (Women in Science Biographies, Fossil Books for Kids, Feminist Picture Books, Dinosaur Gifts for Kids)
List Price: $17.99*
Lowest New Price: $16.19*
In Stock.*
*(As of 09:22 Pacific 4 Dec 2020 More Info)


Click Here
Description:
Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist (Women in Science Biographies, Fossil Books for Kids, Feminist Picture Books, Dinosaur Gifts for Kids)
  • Manufacturer: Sourcebooks Explore
  • Brand: Sourcebooks Explore
  • ISBN: 172820951X
  • UPC: 760789294006
  • EANs: 9781728209517, 0760789294006
Details:
  • Hardcover
  • Format: Picture Book
  • Edition: Illustrated
  • Number of Pages: 40
  • Author: Linda Skeers
  • Publication Date: July 7th, 2020
  • Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Physical Description:
  • Size: 10.25 Inches by 10.25 Inches by 1.5 Inches
  • Weight: 1.2 Pounds
Click here for more information
Fossils for Kids: A Junior Scientist's Guide to Dinosaur Bones, Ancient Animals, and Prehistoric Life on Earth
By Ashley Hall

Rockridge Press
Released: June 30th, 2020
Paperback (94 pages)

Fossils for Kids: A Junior Scientist s Guide to Dinosaur Bones, Ancient Animals, and Prehistoric Life on Earth
Lowest New Price: $8.99*
In Stock.*
*(As of 09:22 Pacific 4 Dec 2020 More Info)


Click Here
Description:
Fossils for Kids: A Junior Scientist's Guide to Dinosaur Bones, Ancient Animals, and Prehistoric Life on Earth
  • Manufacturer: Rockridge Press
  • Brand: Rockridge Press
  • ISBN: 164739368X
  • EAN: 9781647393687
Details:
  • Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 94
  • Author: Ashley Hall
  • Publication Date: June 30th, 2020
  • Release Date: June 30th, 2020
Physical Description:
  • Size: 7.99 Inches by 7.99 Inches by 0.26 Inches
  • Weight: 0.47 Pounds
Click here for more information
Curious About Fossils (Smithsonian)
By Kate Waters

Grosset & Dunlap
Released: March 1st, 2016
Tan Paperback (32 pages)

Curious About Fossils (Smithsonian)
Lowest New Price: $4.99*
In Stock.*
*(As of 09:22 Pacific 4 Dec 2020 More Info)


Click Here
Description:
Curious About Fossils (Smithsonian)
  • Manufacturer: Grosset & Dunlap
  • Brand: Grosset & Dunlap
  • ISBN: 0448490196
  • EAN: 9780448490199
  • PartNumber: Illustrated
Details:
  • Paperback
  • Format: Illustrated
  • Edition: Illustrated
  • Number of Pages: 32
  • Author: Kate Waters
  • Publication Date: March 1st, 2016
  • Release Date: March 1st, 2016
Physical Description:
  • Size: 8.0 Inches by 8.0 Inches by 0.14 Inches
  • Weight: 0.23368999772 Pounds
  • Color: Tan
Features:
  • Grosset Dunlap
Click here for more information
1,000 Facts About Dinosaurs, Fossils, and Prehistoric Life
By Patricia Daniels

National Geographic Kids
Released: February 11th, 2020
Hardcover (112 pages)

1,000 Facts About Dinosaurs, Fossils, and Prehistoric Life
Lowest New Price: $14.99*
In Stock.*
*(As of 09:22 Pacific 4 Dec 2020 More Info)


Click Here
Description:
1,000 Facts About Dinosaurs, Fossils, and Prehistoric Life
  • Manufacturer: National Geographic Kids
  • Brand: National Geographic Kids
  • ISBN: 1426336675
  • EAN: 9781426336676
Details:
  • Hardcover
  • Format: Illustrated
  • Edition: Illustrated
  • Number of Pages: 112
  • Author: Patricia Daniels
  • Publication Date: February 11th, 2020
  • Release Date: February 11th, 2020
Physical Description:
  • Size: 11.125 Inches by 9.5 Inches by 0.5 Inches
  • Weight: 1.5652820602 Pounds
Click here for more information
Science Comics: Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers
By MK Reed

First Second
Released: March 29th, 2016
Paperback (128 pages)

Science Comics: Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers
List Price: $12.99*
Lowest New Price: $10.65*
In Stock.*
*(As of 09:22 Pacific 4 Dec 2020 More Info)


Click Here
Description:
Science Comics: Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers
  • Manufacturer: First Second
  • Brand: First Second
  • ISBN: 1626721432
  • EAN: 9781626721432
Details:
  • Paperback
  • Format: Illustrated
  • Edition: Illustrated
  • Number of Pages: 128
  • Author: MK Reed
  • Publication Date: March 29th, 2016
  • Release Date: March 29th, 2016
Physical Description:
  • Size: 8.56 Inches by 6.0799091 Inches by 0.32 Inches
  • Weight: 0.5621787681 Pounds
Features:
  • First Second
Click here for more information


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