Budding Paleontologists

Learning About The Past Through Fossils

Fossils are fundamental to discovering information about the past inhabitants of Earth over the course of its 4.5 billion year history. Today, students also learned about the different types of fossils and how they give us insight into the past.  We briefly explored the various types of fossils that can be found, including body fossils (cast, petrified wood, or whole body) that tell us what organisms looked like, and trace fossils (footprints, and coprolites) that tell us how an organism lived.

To continue with the exploration of the past, students were then turned into paleontologists!  They were able to excavate their own dinosaur bone fossils from a rock using tools and techniques similar to those employed by paleontologists and reassemble their dinosaur skeletons.  Some classes also had an opportunity to reconstruct a mystery animal skeleton from the Jurassic period.

Aprendiendo sobre el pasado a través de fósiles

Los fósiles son piezas fundamentales a la hora de descubrir información sobre los habitantes que existieron durante el transcurso de los 4.5 mil millones de años de la Tierra. En esta clase  , los estudiantes aprendieron acerca los diferentes tipos de fósiles que existen y cómo éstos nos brindan información sobre el pasado. Estudiamos los varios tipos de fósiles que se pueden encontrar. Por ejemplo, existen los fósiles de cuerpo (partes del cuerpo o cuerpos completos) que nos indican cómo los organismos lucían y las pistas fósiles (huellas y coprolitos), que nos muestran cómo los organismos vivían.

Para continuar explorando el pasado, ¡los estudiantes se convirtieron en paleontólogos!. Luego, los estudiantes se convirtieron en paleontólogos, y excavaron de una roca, huesos fósiles de dinosaurio utilizando técnicas similares a los que las que ocupan los paleontólogos. Luego, los  huesos que excavaron fueron ensamblados para formar un esqueleto de dinosaurio.Algunos grupos también tuvieron la oportunidad de reconstruir el esqueleto de un animal misterioso del período Jurásico.

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Author

Dr. Maureen Griffin

Maureen earned a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. While at Penn, she developed a novel micro-mechanical technique called micropipette peeling to investigate the role of muscle cell adhesion in normal and diseased skeletal muscle cells. After graduating, Maureen worked full time as a post-doctoral researcher and then a staff scientist a SelectX Pharmaceuticals. She joined the teaching staff in 2008 and was excited to be made an executive staff member in 2009. Maureen also continued to consult part time for SelectX until her daughter's birth in 2009; now she is focused on Science from Scientists and, of course, her children. Maureen uses her spare time to read, blog, cook, and renovate her house.

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