Fossils Shed Light on Unknown Past

by Ariana Smith, age 10 

    Have you ever seen a fossil? A fossil is what remains of an animal or plant that has been preserved in rock.

    A very important fossil is Archaeopteryx, which was found in Germany in 1860. It is close to 150 million years old. The creature looked like feathers of a bird and a tail of a dinosaur. 

    Some fossils are known as trace fossils. The trace fossil is not a fossilized part of an animal body, like bones, it is a preserved mark, such as a footprint. By looking at trace fossils, scientists can know and discover how they walked and the kind of animal it was. 

    In 1978 in Tanzania, Africa, fossilized human footprints were discovered. These prints told scientists how ancient humans walked. Acanthostega is one of the earliest fossils ever found. The man who found it was not an expert.  He didn’t realize it was important until 30 years later when an expert on amphibians discovered it.

    Fossils tell us how plants and animals lived a long time ago. They give scientists clues about how animals evolve or the way they look.

[Source: 100 Things You Should Know about Prehistoric Life]