155 Interesting Fossils Facts That Will Take You Back In Time | Kidadl


155 Interesting Fossils Facts That Will Take You Back In Time

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Some people mistakenly regard fossils as the remains of the organism itself, whereas, in reality, fossils are traces of the remains of an organism found deep inside the earth and under rocks usually.

Whether it is a bone of an organism or its shell or even the leaf of some now extinct tree species, it can all turn into fossils over time. These remains of plants or animals which get preserved over time turn into fossils after they reach an age of around 10,000 years.

Isn't it interesting how these remains turn into fossils without decomposing for thousands and thousands of years! Well, we must keep in mind that every remain doesn't turn into a fossil, only some remains turn into fossils by the process of fossilization. In order for creatures to become fossilized, their remains need to be covered by sediments such as lava, a sandy seafloor, or sticky tar soon after their death. We hardly ever see soft-bodied creatures such as worms getting fossilized as the minerals present in sediments cannot seep into them. On the other hand, we find dinosaur bones and skeletal remains of animals that died around 60 million years ago because these minerals can seep into these remains easily. Even the size of fossils can amaze you.

Fossil remains are not only those of dinosaurs or other sea creatures which are now extinct. Fossils are largely divided on the basis of size into microfossils and macrofossils. Microfossils include the likes of bacteria and pollen which become preserved over the years and their fossils are visible only under the microscope. On the other hand, macrofossils can be of unimaginable lengths. Fossil records have shown macrofossils to be several meters long, perhaps dinosaur fossils or petrified trees. An interesting fact about fossils is that the oldest fossils are those of ancient algae which are known to have lived in the seas and oceans around 3 billion years ago, and they are arguably one of the first-ever in the fossil record.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about saber-tooth fossils and Spinosaurus fossils here on Kidadl?

What is the oldest fossil ever found?

Paleontologists are largely responsible for all the knowledge that we have about our planet. Studying the different kinds of fossilized feces has helped scientists to gather and put together information regarding the history of various species and of the earth as well. Most of the fossil discoveries made by paleontologists and further studied by researchers have also helped humans to realize the evolutionary journey that planet earth has gone through and what can happen to this civilization if we don't take proper care of the planet.

Some of the oldest fossils ever discovered are believed to be not millions but billion years old. We will take a look at some of the oldest fossils ever discovered.

Hematite tubes are arguably the oldest known fossils to humanity as of this today. They were discovered in Quebec, Canada, and are believed to be at least 3, 800,000,000 years old. Hematite ore is a microscopic bacteria and was found in 2017 by a group of scientists. Although the entire research community has not yet agreed on its supposed age claim, the group of scientists who found this fossil is confident about its age, and if correct, this discovery can provide answers to a number of questions about the beginning of the earth.

The next one is Stromatolites, an ancient bacteria which resembles a layered rock formation and it is believed that it was formed by cyanobacteria. They were found in the Archaean Rocks in Western Australia and have some concrete evidence that supports the claim that this fossil is around 3,500,000,000 years old. Some reports claim that Stromatolites found in Greenland are older than the ones found in Australia as the former is supposedly 3,700,000,000 years old.

Seaweed-like fossils found near Beijing, China in 2016 are the third oldest fossils ever discovered. They belong to the species Eukaryotes and are believed to be around 1,560,000,000 years old. Additionally, what surprised researchers the most was that the organisms which were trapped in the fossils were easily visible without the use of a microscope which generally doesn't happen for such ancient organisms.

Next up, we have the 523 million years old ancestor of the modern vertebrates, Pikaia. The Pikaia fossil was discovered back in 1911 by Charles Walcott in the mountains called Pika Peak which gave the name to the fossil. Although after some scientific recreations were done on Pikaia, there was some confusion regarding if these are really vertebrates for even though their characteristics show them as vertebrates some other evidence contradicts it.

Now interestingly, the oldest human fossil ever found was only 315,000 years ago in Morocco. Whereas, the first-ever fossil found of a shark or a mango is around 400 million and 25-30 million years old, respectively.

Different Types Of Shell Fossils

A fossil can be formed of various parts of an animal such as its bones or shells. After the death of the organism, if it is immediately covered by sediment, there are high chances that a shell fossil can be formed on a stone. These fossils are formed by the continuous natural pressure and are an impression of the prehistoric life that once existed. Shell fossils are comparatively more common amongst ancient creatures which lived in the oceans.

When an aquatic animal with a shell dies, it begins to decompose but in the process, it leaves an impression of its shell on a rock. This is not as easy as it sounds or else there would be millions of shell fossils in the world. Discoveries of such fossils are very rare because if the rock on which the impression is being formed is moved by natural forces or by some animal, the impression cannot be attained.

Ammonites are now Extinct organisms whose shell fossils can be found. Ammonites have a flat spiral shape of a shell with chambers or little rooms within it which are further connected by a tube. These shell fossils can be found in rocks of the Jurassic period, again around 66-201 million years ago. As an interesting fact about this species of organism, their body size had huge variety with some of them being as large as a human being and some being very tiny.

Bivalve is another type of organism whose shell fossils are found around beaches and cliffs of northern, eastern, and southern parts of England, southern Scotland, and also south Wales. What might surprise you is, bivalves are alive to date and live in seas, as well as, freshwater. As the name 'bi' suggests, these organisms have two shells which are known as valves, the oldest fossil of this creature is over 500 million years old!

Brachiopods are another organism looking pretty similar to the earlier discussed bivalves but unlike bivalves, brachiopods live their lives attached to a hard surface. Contrary to bivalves whose both shells are mirror reflections, brachiopods have one shell bigger than the other which often comes useful in telling the difference between both kinds. These are usually found in rocks that are around 500 million years old. The southern coasts of Scotland and northern, southern, and eastern England are some of the best places to look for brachiopod shell fossils. Paleontologists who have researched the fossil of these species have used the knowledge in potentially looking for shell fossils of other organisms around the same timeline as well.

Fossilized scary petrified Velociraptor dinosaur fossil remains in stone

What are the weirdest fossils?

The very first question which comes into our mind is, what do we consider as 'weird' fossils? Fossils tell us about animals larger than those we have ever seen with skeletons larger than that of the biggest blue whale that currently exists. However, paleontologists consider some fossils to be weird either because of their peculiarity or the condition in which they were found. Research for fossils is never-ending, and it goes on and on. Perhaps when paleontologists had discovered the first dinosaur fossil, it would have been the weirdest thing for them but not any more. We will now discuss some fossils which scientists regard bizarre even today.

The first one on the list is a 'gigantic ant fossil' discovered by a group of four paleontologists. The fossil has been recently found and has been named Titanomyrma lubei. After some research, it was found that the ant fossil is around 50 million years old and is an integral part of Earth's history. It depicted the impact of global warming back in the day on life distribution. It was the size of the fossil due to which it was regarded as the gigantic ant fossil, it measured around 2 in (5 cm) which is similar to the approximate body size of a hummingbird.

The next weird fossil which has gone down in the books of history is a Beelzebufo or as it was better identified, the 'devil frog'. The fossil was found in Madagascar looking like a beach ball of some sort. The enormous dimensions of the frog fossil led it to be named the devil frog. After research, it was found that the fossil was around 70 million years old and weighed 10 lb (4.5 kg) along with a height of 16 in (41 cm).

It might seem surprising that we not mentioned anything related to dinosaurs yet in this list of weird fossils. However, it isn't an ordinary fossil of some dinosaurs, it is a nest of fossil remains of 15 baby dinosaurs! This discovery related to the life of dinosaurs was made in 2011 in Mongolia, it was the first nest of dinosaurs to be ever found. This is unique in some ways as most of the dinosaur fossils in the world have been found in China, Argentina, and North America but not a lot in Mongolia.

How many fossils have been found?

The number of fossils that have been found to date is a very very small proportion of the number of animals, large or small that lived millions of years ago. Out of those animals whose bones or feathers or shells that eventually turned into fossils, only some of them are believed to be found to date. Going by numbers, scientists claim that even less than one-tenth of 1% of all the species of animals that ever live turn into fossils, and then finding them is a different ball game altogether.

A number of sources claim that about 2100 good quality skeleton fossils have been found to date but this is supposedly only a small number taking into regard the total number of fossils that perhaps exist. However, in the recent past, there have been some technological developments that have made the task of looking for fossils relatively easier. High tech gadgets and newly gained knowledge have helped in discovering more and more fossils of dinosaurs lately.

Talking about fossils of dinosaurs, you cannot end the topic without discussing the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The American Museum of Natural History is well-known for its fossils of dinosaurs with some of the fossils being more than 30 million years old. The dinosaurs on display include armored dinosaurs, horned dinosaurs, dome-headed dinosaurs, and also saurischian dinosaurs. Moreover, the bones at display in this museum are made of real fossil material and not mere plaster casts which makes it much more special.

A fact about dinosaur fossils is that the largest one ever found was in Australia. It was a Titanosaur, one of the largest dinosaurs ever, and its bones were found in good condition. Many dinosaur fossils although have been found only one of them has been revealed by scientists in its complete skeletal form which is considered as one of the most important fossils in the world. It was a T-rex discovered in 2006 and is believed to be 67 million years old. The fossil of Nodosaur is one of the best-preserved and unique fossils found accidentally in Canada.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked these 155 interesting fossils facts, then why not take a look at trace fossils facts, or world's largest horse types of fossils for kids?

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<p>A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.</p>

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