Studying Fossils

Authors: Karen Wickersham
Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute

Introduction: Studying Evolution in the Light of Fossils. When one thinks of evolution, one must invariably think about the fossil record. Looking at fossils to study evolution is imperative. The fossil record is often the only proof that an ancestral species once inhabited the Earth. By studying fossils, evidence for evolution becomes apparent. Fossil remains can also be used to draw hypotheses about a long extinct organism: how it looked, what it used for energy, how it behaved and its ecological niche.

Activities in this section range from quantitative measurements of hominoid skulls to the comparison of hominoid bone structures. Activities are available that help students hypothesize dinosaur size and speed by looking at dinosaur trackway or by measuring a dinosaur model's water displacement. In addition, techniques to help students become familiar with the ways paleontologists study and classify fossils can be found. Other activities will give students graphing and mapping practice by tracing hominoid fossil remains.

Karen Wickersham

On to Fossils and Migration Patterns of Early Hominids
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