Fossils are the remnants of living organisms that dominated the earth millions of years ago. To know interesting facts about fossils, browse through this article.

Fossils Facts

Fossils are important resources used by scientists and paleontologists to study human evolution. Fossils are evidence that proves life existed on the earth millions of years ago. Though most of the ancient plants and animals have since disappeared from the face of the earth, their remnants in the form of fossils help scientists and paleontologists to study the progression of the earth and life on it as well. The word fossil is derived from a Latin word which means “dug up.” Most fossils are discovered while excavating sedimentary rock layers. Sedimentary rocks are formed of sand, silt, and mud that have deposited and hardened over millennia. Fossils are revealed when these sedimentary rocks are eroded by water, wind and other forces of nature over a period of time. Some of the best places to find fossils include cliffs, eroded hillsides, mountains, and deserts. If you are looking for more interesting fossil facts, then read through the following section to learn more.

Interesting Facts About Fossils
  • The ‘Burgess shale formation’ in Canada and ‘the Chengjiang deposits’ in the Yunnan Province of China are known to be the oldest fossils found so far. The evidence of microscopic life forms has been found to be 3,700 to 3,800 million years old.
  • The Burgess shale was formed about 530 million years ago during the Cambrian period. The Chengjiang deposits, however, appear to be about 15 million years older than the Burgess shale formation.
  • The oldest marine fossils exist in Isua Greenstone in Greenland.
  • Paleontologists have discovered the oldest fish fossil in Yunnan Province, China. The fish is said to have existed 530 million years ago.
  • Fossils preserved in extreme climates exhibit how the climate and vegetation of the area has changed radically over time.
  • Fossils are also found in hardened lava from volcanic eruptions. Scientists can make duplicates of the original animals or insects by filling in the mold (shape left by the animal matter) with plaster, wax, or other suitable materials.
  • Majority of fossils are found in sedimentary rocks which are made up of sand, silt, and mud sediments along with minerals that have hardened over time to form hard rocks.
  • Fossils are best found in mountains, deserts, cliffs and eroded hillsides.
  • The largest ammonites which are marine fossils, are the ‘pachydiscus seppenradensis’, which reach a diameter of 6 ½ feet (2 meters).
  • The largest recorded ‘nautiloid fossil’ is from the ‘Ordovician Period’ and measured 13 feet (3 ½ meters) in length.
  • The ‘megaladon’ is a prehistoric shark fossil, almost 50 feet long, while the ‘sauroposeidon’ measures about 60 feet (18 meters).
  • Plants and animals must be buried under certain specific conditions to become fossilized.
  • A footprint of an animal can only be fossilized if the animal walked slowly over a moist, fine-grained, and cohesive sediment bed.
  • Fossils can be formed in many ways. However, permineralization is the most common way where the buried organism is gradually replaced by minerals, thus making it more rock-like.
  • The largest fossilized dinosaur eggs ever found belong to the ‘hypelosaurus’ and are about a foot in length.
  • Fossils of the sauroposeidon reveal that it may have been the largest dinosaur ever to live on the earth. Scientists have found evidences from fossil studies that this gigantic dinosaur would have stood 60 feet tall (18 meters) and weighed a staggering 60 tones!
The study of fossils is known as paleontology. These fossil facts are considered to be one of the most important tools to understand the geological changes on earth over millions of years. 

How to Cite

More from