The word fossil, derived from a Latin word meaning "something dug up," refers to the preserved remains or traces of ancient life. Careful study of both body and trace fossils can answer questions about life and evolution. Fossils also provide information about the history of Earth itself, telling us, for example, that a tropical sea was present where only a desert exists today. This interactive activity adapted from the University of California Museum of Paleontology explores the kinds of things we can learn from several types of fossils that scientists study.
This media asset was adapted from Getting Into the Fossil Record by the University of California Museum of Paleontology.