How Dinosaur Fossils Were Formed
Skull of Giganotosaurus
Was there any real proof that dinosaurs really did exist? To begin with, the fossils are the only source, clue and remains of the prehistoric animals and plants that lived millions of years ago.
Fossils were the only discovery made available to prove and gather evidence that these ancient animals really did exist. Fossils are mainly embedded in rocks which are several million years old. Generally, the hardest parts of the animals are left in the rocks such as the teeth and bones, and the flesh has eventually decayed. However, if nothing remains of an animal, there may be a hollow which the animal left behind. This hollow could be the precise shape in the rock of its body. Or it can even leave a footprint in the mud or soft sand when it was walking.
A dinosaur became a fossil after it died. The body may have fallen, or been washed into a river. The perished body may have laid on the bottom of the river floor and slowly the flesh rotted away. After that the skeleton of the dinosaur was gradually buried under the mud, and the minerals from the water seeped into the bones and preserved them. Over millions of years, the mud transformed into layers of rock and the skeleton of the dinosaur became a fossil. The sea level then dropped after millions of years later. The wind and rain then wears away the rock and that reveals the fossils which is substantial evidence that dinosaurs once lived on Earth.
Cartoon Animation on Fossils
Skull of Stygimoloch spinifer
The experts on fossils are called paleontologists, they are known as the scientists who do all the research and the hectic detective work. Paleontologists have discovered fossils in many parts of the world. Their work can be very excruciating due to the fossils being scattered in pieces once they are found. It is very rare that paleontologists will find a whole skeleton preserved in the rock, but it is possible. They first identify the fossil bones, remove them from the ground, assemble the bones like a jigsaw, and then they determine and calculate how old the fossils are. The result of their work can be seen in natural history museums where the dinosaur skeletons are mounted and put on display for the public to view.
Besides fossil bones and teeth, which is not exactly the only clue that these animals of the past left behind, the footprints and the imprint of scaly skin, made in soft mud millions of years ago have also been found. Some of the most astounding fossils found are the droppings (or fossil feces) of the dinosaurs, and they are called coprolites. What scientists do is they grind up the dinosaur droppings, turn them into fine dust and then they find out what the dinosaurs ate to survive.