Celebrate National Fossil Day in DC and Nationwide

Trilobite fossil

On Wednesday, October 3, 2018, the National Mall will be hosting the ultimate fossil and paleontology experience for visitors in the largest celebration of National Fossil Day yet. The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is proud to celebrate this event, organized by the National Park Service as part of AGI's Earth Science Week, to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils.

Celebrate National Fossil Day on October 11, 2017

Earth Science Week Theme for 2017 is Earth and Human Activity

What's old is new again! Join in celebration of the 8th annual National Fossil Day on Wednesday, October 11, 2017.  National Fossil Day is organized by the National Park Service as part of AGI's Earth Science Week to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, with the goal of inspiring the next generation of paleontologists and fossil enthusiasts.

How does a living thing become a fossil?

Teaching and Learning Focus

In the previous investigation, students discovered that living things can die and decay. Soft parts are more likely to decay than hard parts. For this reason, the most common fossils are bones, teeth, shells, and the woody stems of plants. For a fossil to form, an organism must be buried quickly so that any oxygen is cut off and its decay slows down or stops.

Why do some things become fossils, but others do not?

Teaching and Learning Focus

It is very likely that any organism on Earth will be either eaten by scavengers or decomposed by microorganisms after it dies. Organisms decompose more quickly when they are in contact with oxygen. Most environments exposed to the open air are in contact with plenty of oxygen, so the soft tissues of dead organisms, whether plants or animals, decay quickly. Many, if not most, underwater environments also have a lot of oxygen, since water can dissolve oxygen from the atmosphere.


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