What’s new on this day dedicated to things ancient? Quite a lot! We have not just a slew of new species, but also spectacular preservation such as:
- an extraordinary giant armored nodosaur from 110 million years ago
- prehistoric bird feathers, claws & suchlike preserved in amber
- this skin impression from a tyrannosaur:
Did you know that since 1990 or thereabouts, more new dinosaur species have been identified by their fossil remains than in all the previous years during which scientists had been studying dinosaurs?
Lastly, hats off to the National Park Service, purveyors of insights about fossils:
Here’s wishing you a happy National Fossil Day.
Calling all cat lovers: Who doesn’t need a wonderful drawing of a sabertooth in honor of National Fossil Day 2016? Today! The official name is Smilodon fatalis, and it’s not the only feline hunter of the Pleistocene. There were also thoroughly scary prehistoric versions of lions, cougars, jaguars, lynx, and cheetahs in bygone eras. Just look at those seven-inch teeth. This is 600 pounds of predator.
Here’s a Smilodon fossil skull from the famous La Brea Tar Pits.
For more about National Fossil Day and fossils discovered in the United States, have a look here.
Quick quiz for those of you who’ve always been into fossils.
1. What is a fossil?
A) The bones of a dead creature
B) Stone in which minerals have replaced the remains of a dead creature
C) A footprint, claw mark, burrow or other record of what a dead creature once did
(Hint: More than one answer may be correct.)
2. At how many national parks in the United States have fossils been discovered?
B) Fifty six
C) Over two hundred sixty
The National Park Service has an interesting website about fossils. Some terrific fossils have been discovered in our national parks. Apart from the fact that fossils are way cool, why does the government spend some (a very small portion) of our tax dollars on studying fossils? The website explains that, too. In brief, what’s gone before has much to tell us about life on Earth today.
So here’s wishing you a happy National Fossil Day.
- A, B, & C