Although dinosaurs lived many millions of years ago, we know that they existed because some of them turned into fossils when they died.
When you see the skeleton of an animal that died millions of years ago—from a small fish to a huge dinosaur—you may wonder how the bones that make up the skeleton lasted so long and did not decay. In fact, these are not actually bones, but rocks that formed in or around the bones. More surprisingly, these bone-looking rocks, also called fossils, are very difficult to form, even though there is a vast record of life that has been preserved in the form of fossils. So, how do dinosaurs became fossils? Let’s explore.
The normal fossilization of how dinosaurs became fossils:
- The dinosaur dies and is washed away in a flood. The body is buried in sediment (mud or sand) and eventually, the body is covered.
- The soft parts of the body are destroyed leaving only bones. Minerals from the sediment soak into the bones. Very slowly, minerals start to replace the bone. This turns the bones into stone.
- Over millions of years, parts of the rock on the surface wear away. Eventually, the fossil skeleton comes to the surface and is discovered.
TYPES OF DINOSAUR FOSSILS
Fossils can be divided into two categories, fossilized body parts (bones, claws, teeth, skin, embryos, etc.) and fossilized traces, called ichnofossils (which are footprints, nests, dung, etc.), that record the movements and behaviors of the dinosaurs.
The most common body fossils found are from the hard parts of the body, including bones, claws, and teeth. More rarely, fossils have been found of softer body tissues. Body fossils include:
- Teeth and Claws
Teeth fossil of Tyrannosaurus
- Claws fossil
Tail club of Ankylosaurus
- Eggs, Embryos, and Nests
- Skin – Some dinosaurs had thick, bumpy skin.
- Muscles, Tendons, Organs, and Blood Vessels – These are extremely rare because these soft tissues usually decay before fossilization takes place.
Trace fossils (ichnofossils) record the movements and behaviors of the dinosaurs. There are many types of trace fossils. Even the lack of trace fossils can yield information; the lack of tail-furrow fossils indicates an erect tail stance for dinosaurs that were previously believed to have dragged their tails.
IMPORTANCE OF FOSSILS
Fossils not only tell us about animals that died millions of years ago but also how animals change over time, whether they disappeared from the surface of the Earth following mass extinctions or whether they migrated from one area to another, revealing climate changes and providing evidence for continental plate movements.
The best and the largest dinosaur and animal skeleton/fossil manufacturer in China, MyDinosaurs Production is committed to providing various museum-quality fossil replicas. As a partner of China’s top museums, we participate in assisting museum scientists in excavating and restoring fossils. and provide fossil replicas with reliable scientific research data for museums.