What can we learn from fossils?

The fossil record

Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of a dead organism. They provide evidence for how living things and the environment have changed over time.

Fossils have been found in rocks of all ages, stretching back billions of years. However, most of the species found in the fossil record have died out or become extinct.

Fossils don’t just show how living things have changed; they can also help us understand how the Earth has changed.

Over millions of years the Earth’s surface shifts and changes. For example, rocks that once formed the seafloor might be forced up to form a mountain range. This means that you can sometimes find the fossils of sea creatures at the peak of a mountain.

The Earth, there's more to learn...

This guide
Emmet standing on the top of a mountain beside a fossil fish.

What can we learn from fossils?