Outdoors

How to find fossils



Sometimes a rock’s just a rock … and sometimes it’s a fossil. How can you tell the difference?

Research which fossils are common where you’ll be hiking.

Stop by a museum or visitor center, call a local university’s geology department or search for a club of paleontologists (people who study fossils of plants and animals).

Find the right kind of rocks.

Fossils are found in sedimentary rocks, like sandstone, limestone or shale. Sedimentary rocks look like layered pancakes.

Look for exposed rock.

Check out stream cuts, bluffs, sea cliffs, road cuts or any place where bedrock is eroding.

Get low.

You’ll see more fossils when you’re on your hands and knees. Use a magnifying lens. Form a “search image” in your mind. If you spotted ammonites at a nearby rock shop, think about what they looked like. Search for spirals and snail shapes. And remember that most fossils are small sea animals – not rare dinosaur bones.

Leave fossils as you found them, so others can enjoy them, unless directed otherwise by local authorities. If you think you’ve found something unusual, make a careful note of its exact location – information that’s as important as the rock itself. A fossil’s location tells its story, where and how the animal lived.

FIVE EASY-TO-FIND FOSSILS;

Here are five fossils that you can look for on your next hike.

ammonoids.jpgAmmonoids

People in the Middle Ages called ammonoids “snake stones” because they thought the fossils were coiled snakes.

 

brachiopod-1.jpgBrachiopods

Scientists say most brachiopods disappeared 250 million years ago, when as much as 95 percent of ocean animals died in a mass extinction.

 

coralbandingfossil.jpgCorals

Algae lives inside the coral, giving it nutrients and oxygen.

 

crinoids-and-brachiopods.JPGCrinoids

This flower-shaped animal’s anus was next to its mouth.

 

trilobite_metacryphaeus.jpgTrilobites

Growing trilobites crawled out of old exoskeletons through head splits, giving their fossils “facial structures.”

 

Comments about “How to find fossils”

  1. jackal says:

    i love dinosaurs.

  2. Hvx says:

    Cool dude!

  3. fossil master says:

    i have found loads of fossils in 4 months !

  4. CeCe says:

    ‘ Fossils Are Very Intressting Objects, We Once Last Year Wrote About Them And STUDIED About Them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I Love FOSSILS :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    i have a plant fossils

  7. 90 says:

    Once I found a fossil then I lost it.

  8. james says:

    i have two

  9. christian says:

    i found a horn coral fossil in my back yard but cant get it out of the rock. also i have many other fossil like clams, moss, ferns and one that looks like dino poo. its got lots of little bones in it.

  10. super says:

    Ilove the ideai!

  11. Rock Hunter says:

    I live in Utah and I know of a few good places. One is called Fossil Mountain by Delta, search on the internet for directions.

  12. Anonymous says:

    i found a rock with a bunch of shell suck in lime stone and sprial shells is this a good find

  13. Willy says:

    I have a project to find fossils so i came to this site. I found nothing yet.

    • josh says:

      me too.i have been interested in fossil rocks for awhile and still,nothing.

      • josh says:

        once i was lookin’ at some rock because im in to fossils and stuff,well anyway i am sure i found an amunite.that was my first fossil i ever found.

  14. onlysixbucks says:

    I have a fossil I found it on a shelf in a store

  15. drillboy says:

    all i want to know is where to find fossils in NewYork and NewJersey.Can i have some advice how to get some fossils.

  16. fossil boy says:

    where can i find fossils in new market please help im dying my son is too

  17. hunter says:

    I live in New Jersey all I find is crystals.

  18. CoinCollector says:

    Does anyone know a good fossil collecting site where the public can come and find fossils that is close to San Antonio, TX?

  19. spinax says:

    i LOVE dinosaurs and fossils but where can i find some in Ohio?p.s.i dont have any fossils yet:[

  20. fossil hunter of the twenty first century says:

    i love fossils!! i don’t mean to brag but i have 2 amonites (not to mention the amonite fragments), 1 trilobite, 3 shark teeth, tons of fish fosssils, tons of mollosks, clams, oysters, and much other stuff.

  21. Garapan says:

    I found a fossil once. Once.

  22. claire says:

    i cant wait till i go tomy lake house.I bet can find tons of fossils.my dad does a lot of construction there. i found some MY BROTHER FOUND REAL GOLD!!!!! ALL I FOUND WAS SOME SILVER AND A REALLY OLD PENNY

  23. i cant find fossils says:

    i cant find fossils but i live in utah and i cant find any i look a lot but ive only found 1

  24. fired up says:

    dragons ,it is very fun

  25. fired up says:

    i have none, but it is a fun hobby for sure

  26. fossil lover says:

    I am a major fossil collector!I LOVE FOSSILS!
    Not to be a bragger,but i have 18 shark teeth,1 trilobite,1 ammonite,bryozoans,anklyosaur tooth,dino bone,dino eggshell fragment,spinosaur tooth,mososaur tooth,2 dino coprolites(don’t ask),and a few others that i forgot…

    • fossil lover says:

      dude i dont get it i cant get any fossils and where did you get the trilobites???? man im confused!!!(i live in M.O.

  27. fossilhunter3 says:

    I Love fossils but I’ve only found one in my life time i live in Utah and i think its a trilobite does anybody know how to find fossils in Utah if u do tell me

  28. welldone56 says:

    i have found fossils in a construction site near my house. of course i had to ask purmission first… i found 3 trilobites, 8 ammonoids, and 1 shark tooth. it was a good day for me.

  29. hunter says:

    a good place to look for fossils is were construction workers cut through a hill or mountian to build a road find one that has alot of lose rock on the ground and you might find somthing i found a few things =)

  30. Fossils as a hobby says:

    Finding fossils depends on many factors. First, you need to know where to luck. River banks are a good place to start. You are looking for brown rocks called conretions. They look like thick muddish colored flattened rocks. You will have to crack them with a rock hammer. Wear safety glasses always. If you put the rock on its side and smack it with a hammer, it will open easily and often there are very cool fern, plants, insects, etc. Sometimes, in existing rocks, you will find fossils—you must look very closely. Sometimes the entire rock is a fossil. Sometimes there are parts of the rock that has fossils. Look for bivalves, brachipods, clams, corals. It really depends on where you live. Plug in the words fossils on the Internt and click images. This will give you an idea of what you are looking for. Go to your state museum’s website and look for their geology department. I have visited several geologists and seen their personal collection by merely asking them questions. Research your area. Find out if the rocks in your area are of the Silurian time perios or Pennsylvanian era, etc. The websites will tell you what kind of fossils are probably in your area. Go online and see if there are rock clubs you can join in your area. They are very family oriented. They take fieldtrips to fossil-rich areas. You have to do your homework before you begin. It is a fascinating hobby. Good luck!

  31. crazygecko says:

    the great plians used to be underwater, so you can find fossils of ocean animals there.

  32. woner says:

    i find tons of fossils!!!!!!!!

    lol…….its kinda cool…. trilobites, ammonites, shark teeth……..

  33. ellbell says:

    i was down by the creek and there were rocks with circles. what kind do you soppose they are

  34. ellbell says:

    what are the kinds of fossils name that has circles?

  35. Anonymous says:

    I think that is so cool i love fossils but dont have or know how to find them!!!

  36. bob says:

    I live on a farm in Maryland and on my farm there is lots of rocky areas. A couple years ago I was walking on my farm and near a rocky spot in the ground I saw a brown rock that had a row of different shades of purple. I thought the rock locked cool so i cept it. A year later in my den we were studying fosils and my den leader said that we could probably find fosils at our house. Then I thought of the rock i found. The next day i brought the rock to my den and it turns out that the rock was a fosil.

  37. maicy says:

    i love fossil’s. tere cool!! LOVE! FOSSILS!!!!

  38. wozz says:

    I LOVE FOSSILS BUT I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FIND THEM!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. danny says:

    Hi my name is daniel and I really wan’t to know how to find foossils?

  40. Rocky says:

    I found a weird-looking fossil. I looked it up and the nick-name for it is “Indian Bead”

    the scientific name for it is Crinoid Columnal…

    i seem to find a lot of these type fossils…

    there IS this creek…at the bottom of my driveway….is there a possibility that i’ll find some fossils there? hopefully?

  41. g-funk says:

    i like fossils

  42. fossilhunter9 says:

    Its summer break! That means more time to dig for fossils! Your tips are AWSOME!

  43. fossilhunter9 says:

    Really cool fossil pictures. I have a creek in the forest in my backyard I have found a few fossils there.From all the information you gave me in boyslife im going outside today to see if I can find any fossils. Where have you found fossils?

  44. Bubba says:

    Fossils are really COOL. I LOVE ALL KINDS OF OPAL AND FOSSILS. I COLLECT FOSSILS AND OPALS.

  45. mick says:

    I live in Wisconsin and have found lots of fossils over the years. I lived most of my life by

    the bay of Green Bay and all you have to do is go to the shore and pick up any rock and

    look at it. So many cool things can be found right under your feet.

  46. blablabla2008 says:

    Where I live there’s a lot of fossils in limestone rocks. Once I found a fossil of a shell in KANSAS where there aren’t any lakes.

  47. Sarah says:

    I have a rock that looks like the heart. It seemed like it at first but then it looked like a fossil.

  48. night wing 2100 says:

    the best fossil are triceratops,t-rex,ammonites,nautiliods

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