by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation
Today is the first official National Fossil Day. Organized by the National Parks Service and the American Geological Institute, National Fossil Day was created to,
promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational values.
Fossils, the petrified, preserved remains of plants, animals and other organisms, tell us what the world was like throughout deep time – the estimated 3.5 billion years that life has existed on Earth. You’d be surprised what can become a fossil: bone, tracks, impressions, burrows, eggshells, and even poop! The oldest fossils paleontologists know of so far are bacteria, fossilized mats of cyanobacteria called stromatolites – 3.4 billion years old. We even have fossilized stromatolites here in northern Colorado. Not quite as old, but just as cool. Fossils are the story of life recorded in the Earth, and if that’s not a reason to celebrate with a dinosaur cupcake, what is?
How else can you celebrate National Fossil Day? Here are some ideas: