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any part or trace of a living organism that is naturally preserved after it dies


rot away

worldwide flood

responsible for most of the fossils we see today

petrified fossils

fossils that are made when bone or wood is replaced by minerals that harden into rock


sometimes an organism is pressed into a rock and leaves an imprint


formed when sediment fills in the empty space in a mold and produces a copy of the shape of an organism

carbon film

a dark image made from plants pressed in rock


hardened, yellow plant sap

trace fossil

a fossil formed from something that an organism left behind- a footprint, a hole where an animal lived, or its droppings

fossils can be preserved in

sediment, amber, ice, and tar

beliefs about how the earth began

influence our conclusions about fossils


people who believe that life on earth developed gradually, or evolved


people who believe that God spoke and created the earth and all forms of life in six days

creationists believe

the great flood accounts for most fossils; the earth is only thousands of years old; the Genesis 1 account of the earth's origin

evolutionists believe

layers of rock represent geologic ages (long time periods), age of fossil can be found by looking at the layer in which the fossil was found; life on earth developed gradually over millions of years; earth came into being simply by chance


the scientific study of fossils


the process of removing a fossil from the rock and other material around it

1st step for excavating a fossil

photograph the site

2nd step for excavating a fossil

make a detailed map of the site

3rd step for excavating a fossil

excavate (remove) fossil

4th step for excavating a fossil

number the individual bones

5th step for excavating a fossil

wrap the bones to keep them from breaking

scientists cannot tell from an animals skeleton

the animals muscles and outward appearance

problem with carbon dating

carbon dating is not accurate

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