Monday, September 27, 2010

FOSSILS are the remains of plants or animals that lived in the eairly times of the earth. Some fossils will be a whole animal preserved in ice, bones or tooth hardened by minerals, insects encased in amber and plants found on sand stone or other rocks.

Main kinds of fossils: Petrified fossils, molds and casts, prints, whole animals and plants.
Petrified fossils are plant and or animal remains that have turned to stone.
Molds and casts are the living things that became buried in mud, clay or other material that hardened around them. The bodies decayed away leaving their bones as imprints.
Prints are molds of thin objects on stone such as leaves, feathers, and or foot prints from extinct animals from long ago.
Whole animals and plants are rarely preserved. Most fossils are those of shells, teeth, bones, leaves and other hard parts. Flesh is decayed to quickly to be preserved.
Collecting fossils is fun and educational. Just to think you are holding in your hand the remains of a plant or animal that was once living thousands of years ago.
You could find a fossil shark tooth burried in the sand at the oceans seashore. Small shark teeth have been found in the springs at Rock Springs Fl. I have found rocks with leaf and stick formations on the Rivana river shoreline in Palmyra Va.
Takeing a picture of your finds with a digital camera is a wonderful idea. You can keep record on the computer with the picture and discription. There are books on fossils to help with descriptions and information on your find.
You can view fossils at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. There you will find a large variety of dinosaur bones and other extinct prehistoric creatures. They also have displays of Shark teeth and other marine creatures. There are many interesting things to view at the Smithsonain Institute. We usually plan a whole day to view every thing they have. I also enjoy looking at the waxed animals, rock crystals and antiques.
Pictures displayed are:
Megalodon; Large shark realitive to the great white shark, tooth 4 " long. The mouth of this shark was large enough to swallow a whale from this century.
Gastropod; Large snail with quartz crystals growing around the out side of snail.
Small snails are fossilized cleoniceras cleon.
Brachiopods; Bihalve molluses from the ordovician age.
Slate rock with feather formation.
Large fossilized clam.