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What is a fossil?

Megan the Megalosaurus When most people think of fossils they think of dinosaur skeletons and large bones, but there are many different types of fossils to be found.

Do you know what a fossil really is? Do you know how they form? And do you know what they tell us about the past? Confused? Read on!

The basics

Fossils are the remains of once living animals or plants. People have been finding fossils in rocks for thousands of years, but until quite recently they didn't understand what they were.

Today we recognise that the fossils we find in rocks represent the ancestors of the animals and plants that are alive today.

Fossils are the remains animals or plants. Why not find out more about fossils?

If you read these pages you should get a pretty good idea of what a fossil is.

Introducing the basics What can fossils tell us?
How do fossils form? Different types of fossils

Find out more about fossils by visiting Invertebrate I.D. or the History of life