Looking For Dinosaur Fossils

Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago in the Mesozoic era, and their fossils are primarily found in sedimentary rocks. 

Paleontologists use scientific methods to discover dinosaur fossils.

  • Geological Maps: They study the Earth’s geological maps to see the distribution of sedimentary rocks.
  • Fossil Records: They review existing fossil records to identify areas where fossils have been discovered before.
  • Fossil Fuels: They examine areas where fossil fuels like coal, oil, or gas are extracted, as preserved fossils could be found there.
  • Prospecting: Paleontologists go on expeditions to areas where fossils are likely to be found.


Fossil Extraction – Tools & Techniques 

Paleontologists use various tools and techniques to carefully extract fossils from the ground.


  • Hand Tools: Small fossils embedded in soft rock are extracted using brushes, picks, and chisels.
  • Jackhammers and Rock Saws: Larger fossils or those covered in hard rock require heavy-duty tools to extract them.


  • Gluing: Special glue is applied to the cracks and fractures to hold the fossil together. 
  • Digging: A trench is dug around the bones so that they sit on a low pedestal. 
  • Plastering: A layer of plaster bandages is wrapped around the bones to create a hard cast. 


Fun Facts

Here are some interesting facts about dinosaur fossils:

  • Dinosaur fossils have been found on every continent, including Antarctica.
  • Paleontologists use creative names when naming new dinosaur species, like “Dracorex Hogwartsia” (a dinosaur named after Hogwarts from Harry Potter).
  • Some of the largest fossilized dinosaur eggs were discovered in China in the mid 1990’s. They were over 2 feet long.
  • One of the first almost complete dinosaur skeletons was discovered in New Jersey in 1858.
  • The biggest dinosaur fossil was found in Argentina. The Argentinosaurus was nearly 111 feet big.


Let’s quickly recap what we learned about discovering dinosaur fossils:

  • What type of rocks are dinosaur fossils found in? Sedimentary Rocks
  • What maps do paleontologists study to know about the distribution of rocks? Geological Maps
  • What is the process of going on expeditions to areas where fossils are likely to be found calledProspecting
  • What type of hand tools are used to extract small fossils? Brushes, Picks & Chisels
  • What are fossil bones wrapped around to create a hard cast? Plaster Bandages
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