Fossils are typically bones or teeth that have been preserved for many years in various forms of sediment. When silica or calcite in groundwater seeps into the bone spaces, calcium phosphate of the bone is preserved. These artifacts, often studied by paleontologists, give us a glimpse into the natural past. Fossils show us what type of animals existed and how they lived.By studying the fossil record we can tell how long life has existed on Earth, and how different plants and animals are related to each other. Often we can work out how and where they lived, and use this information to find out about ancient environments.
What are different types of fossils ?
Trace fossils are fossils that depict animal behavior. Such fossils include foot prints, nest sites, eggs, and even worm burrows.
Animal products left behind by past creatures also shed light on their lifestyle and behavior when they roamed the Earth. A good example of an animal product includes coprolites. Coprolites are fossilized feces.
Plants too can even fossilize. This gives an even better picture of life and behavior of animals in the past. Plant species that may be extinct today could have fed the now extinct herbivorous animals that we see in many different fossils.
Fossils can also be found within fossilized tree sap known as amber. This occurs when an insect or small animal becomes trapped within sticky tree sap and said tree sap hardens over time.
Other fossils can be frozen in ice. Sometimes these fossils tend to be very well preserved and in some cases even contain skin, hair or fur still.
Most fossils tend to be found within rock layers and are comprised of fossilized bones or imprints.