Questions for Fossil hunting can start as child’s play


Before reading

1.    Have you or has someone you know ever found a fossil? What did it look like?

2.    The fossil dinosaurs that you see displayed in museums are usually all bones and no flesh. Why do you think that is?

During reading

1.    Why did Paul Taylor’s father describe as “thunderbolts” the belemnite fossils that he found?

2.    Define “invertebrate.”

3.    What is paleontology?

4.    Why can anyone participate in the study of paleontology?

5.    Provide two reasons why dinosaur fossils are rare.

6.    What type of fossils did Matthew Berger find, and what did they lead to? Explain how they helped shape the field of science in which he works.

7.    How and why did so many wooly mammoths die at Mammoth Site, S.D.?

8.    Why are so many fossils found on the beaches in places such as the Jurassic Coast in England and at Calvert Cliffs State Park in Maryland?

9.    Why is it important to record and study the arrangement of fossil bones?

After reading

1.    Review the ways Carolyn Levitt-Bussian suggests students become involved in paleontology. Which of them interests you the most? Describe which of such opportunities are available to you in your hometown?

2.    If dinosaur fossils are rare, what sorts of organisms would you expect to most commonly be found as fossils? Explain your answer.



1.    Brainstorm with a partner, creating a list of human activities that could lead to the creation of trace fossils.

2.    The image accompanying the sidebar to the main story shows a rock containing fossilized leaves that was found in Antarctica. Today, 99 percent of Antarctica is covered with snow and ice. What do those fossils tell us about conditions on the continent in the ancient past?