Common Types of Fossils

Fossils pic


Valerie Varnuska, a resident of Westbury, NY, enjoys learning about the ancient past. Possessing a strong interest in such topics as archaeology, geology, and paleontology, Valerie Varnuska finds enjoyment in learning about ancient artifacts and fossils.

There are many different types of fossils. Here are a few of the most common:

Trace. Providing scientists with information about how animals moved, fed, or behaved, trace fossils were formed in a variety of ways. Some of the more obvious trace fossils include footprints, but trace fossils can also include teeth marks and nests. Even worm burrows count as trace fossils because they provide information about life and movements.

Mold and cast. These fossils were formed when the original bone or shell dissolved and left its shape in the rock. Molds are external shapes that appear as imprints in the rock, while casts are created when sediment fills the inside of a fossil.

Body. Also called true form fossils, body fossils consist of an entire organism or part. Many body fossils are the bones after all soft tissue has decomposed. However, body fossils can also include organisms that are found completely preserved, such as an insect in amber.


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