Throughout human history, people have discovered fossils and wondered about the creatures that lived long ago. In ancient times, fossils inspired legends of monsters and other strange creatures. Another fossil reminded the Greeks of the coiled horns of a ram. Similarly, legends of the Cyclops may be based on fossilized elephant skulls found in Crete and other Mediterranean islands.
By: Tracy V. When paleontologist Mary Schweitzer found soft tissue in a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil , her discovery raised an obvious question -- how the tissue could have survived so long? The bone was 68 million years old, and conventional wisdom about fossilization is that all soft tissue, from blood to brains , decomposes. Only hard parts, like bones and teeth, can become fossils.
Most elements exist in more than one form. Each form must have the same number of protons. This is what makes them the same element.
The fossilized remains of once-living organisms -- animal, plants and humans -- offer scientists a glimpse into past. Fossils have long fascinated both paleontologists and enthusiasts for their ability to tell a story of a time long past. Most fossils show the shape of activity of extinct creatures and human ancestors, but some come from species that exist today. Most of the organisms that died out long ago never became fossils: conditions need to be just right.