Would you look at that, kids – a fossil, right before our very eyes! I reckon if any of the Knowbots were going to find a fossil, it would be me of course!
Fossils are the preserved remains or impressions of animals and plants that died thousands or millions of years ago. You can usually find fossils inside rocks that have stayed undisturbed for a long time.
Fossils are formed when an animal or plant dies in sediments such as sand, silt or mud. Very slowly over time, the animal or plant’s soft tissue breaks down and only the hard bits are left. In animals, this may be bones, teeth, claws, shells, and scales. In plants, this could be bark, roots, and seeds. The sediment surrounding the plant or animal turns into solid rock, and their remains are preserved or imprinted inside the rock. Because of the unique way fossils are formed, they are pretty hard to come by. This means every one found is very valuable.
Many kinds of once-living creatures have formed fossils, from tiny flies and beetles to enormous whales and dinosaurs. Experts discovered two fossilised dinosaurs locked in a fight, who had probably been covered by a landslide during their battle. The fossil was nearly 75 million years old!
And let’s not forget our plant friends, with small mosses and flowers to large trees also leaving their mark. Studying plant fossils can teach us a lot about how Earth has developed over billions of years. Incredibly, the oldest plant fossil ever found is a 1.6-billion-year-old red algae. Boy, that’s a long time!
Thanks for listening, folks! I'm off to discover more fascinating things from history... Yahoo!
Preserved - something that has been kept in its original state.
Remains - bits of something that have been left over a long period of time.
Impression - a ‘print’ of something on the surface of a particular material.
Sediment - tiny little particles that settle to the bottom of a liquid.
Silt - very fine sand or clay.
Tissue - the material that makes up animals and plants.
Moss - a plant that grows in damp areas and often looks like a fuzzy green carpet!
Algae - a type of plant found in water. Seaweed is a type of alga.
1. The first recorded dinosaur fossils were discovered in 1824.
2. The oldest known fossil is said to be 3.45 billion years old and was found in Greenland.
3. The word fossil means "Dug up" in Latin.
1. Name one type of hard bit that an animal might leave behind.
2. What kinds of animals have been found in fossil form?
3. How old is the oldest plant fossil ever found?
4. In which country was the oldest fossil found?
5. What does the word “fossil” mean?
Increase your knowledge by completing these activities.