Fossil – What Do You Know About It?

Footprints left behind by giant dinosaurs are also helpful in determining facts about the shape of the animal and how it walked and what it looked like. Dinosaurs that walked on two legs had different prints than four legged ones. The size of the print as well as the number of goes and the shape of the foot tell a lot about the body that was supported. These footprints can even tell if the dinosaur could run and how fast. There is an amazing amount that can be learned just from footprints.

You can only imagine how those tusks struck terror into the hearts of other animals of the time when one of those huge elephants charged. Those tusks have been passed to us to become part of the rich educational heritage that archeology has given us in the form of fossils of dinosaurs who once ruled the earth.

The reason we love to go to the natural history museum to look at fossils is that it is really easy to use your imagination when you see the massive leg bone or rib of a dinosaur to imagine the entire creature standing before you. But the fossil that sets off the imagination like none other is a fossilized tooth of one of these huge beasts preserved in a display case at a museum. When you see a tooth that was once in the mouth of a giant dinosaur, that tooth alone might be as big as your arm. Then when you imagine the mouth that held that tooth and the frightening face that would bear those fangs as it hunted prey, it can give you goose bumps.

When you go to the museum and see a massive dinosaur standing before you, it might be tempting to believe that this huge replica is a real dinosaur that was recovered from some frozen fossilized state. That misconception is even more common when you see entire skeletons standing erect as though an entire dinosaur simply shed its skin and flesh leaving the bones there for you to look at. The idea that each of those bones is an actual fossil that was somehow knit together into a complete creature is an illusion that the museum people want you to believe.

The process of letting the facts about the past come out of fossils starts before the fossils are ever taken to a laboratory or a museum. It starts at the excavation site as the bones are uncovered. Any movie or documentary about what goes on at an archeological dig will show that scientists who devote themselves to this task take painstaking efforts to uncover the fossils in place and study them and photograph them thoroughly before they are moved. By understanding how the fossils relate to each other within the animal and to other fossilized dinosaurs nearby, paleontologists can discover vast amounts of factual information about the not long gone beasts and what they looked like and how they lived.

We think of places like Antarctica as frozen wastelands were very little life could survive. But when a fossil discovery reveals that at one time dinosaurs thrived in this same location, that tells you that global change caused a significant evolution of that particular area of the either. Dinosaurs are not as a rule creatures that thrived in frozen tundra. So for those creatures to even be in Antarctica or some other now frozen area, that area had to have been green and warm and able to support life.

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