Is your kid dino-crazy? Do they want to become famous dinosaur hunters who travel the world looking for fossils? Here are some fun facts you can share with them to encourage their curiosity and adventurous spirit as they play the role of a paleontologist.
A paleontologist is a scientist who studies life forms that existed in the past and are no longer living on the Earth. This means finding, digging up, and studying fossils and trying to piece together the mystery of how the world used to be before humans were around.
Their job isn’t just cool and exciting, it is very important. By learning about animals, plants, and rocks from the distant past we can better understand how climates change, creatures adapt, and the world works over hundreds of millions of years.
Like many sciences, discovery can be the most exciting part of the job! When a paleontologist does field work, they travel around the world to places where fossils have been found or are expected to be.
How do paleontologists know where to look? They study maps and information about the rock formations in areas to find places that are the most likely to have contained life and conditions appropriate to create fossils. Are there places in your “field area” where your kid is most likely to come across interesting specimens?
Once a paleontologist finds the ideal place to explore, they call it a dig site and get to work!
Because you never know what you’re going to find once you start shoveling, paleontologists are thorough and methodical as they dig, examining each scoop of dirt for rock and soil for things that give clues as to what they will find below.
Once they find a specimen of interest, they work with smaller, more delicate tools like brushes and chisels to extract the fossils or rocks they find and pack them up for later study in the lab to learn more about how the world of that dig site used to be.
If this sounds like an activity that would feed your kid’s natural enthusiasm, there are a number of project ideas that you can do to help them explore their curiosity and the joy of discovery the for themselves.
Check out our articles on how to create your own dino dig at home or making homemade dinosaur bones. If you want them to experience uncovering real fossils, you might want to try our Mega Fossil Dig Kit where we have buried 15 genuine fossils from around the world in a mini dig site for your kids to discover. We’ve included real dinosaur bone, dino poop fossils, shark teeth, and more for an epic paleontology experience.
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