Label: Fossils

October 26, 2011

Did you ever go to the beach and buy a plastic beach shovel for digging in the sand? A 6-year-old British girl named Emily Baldry took her beach shovel on an archeological trip with her family, and used it to dig up a 160-million year old fossil!

The 130-pound fossil that Emily found is called an ammonite. These now-extinct animals were soft-bodied invertebrates (animals without backbones) that lived inside a circular shell. They had long tentacles, well-developed eyes, and a sharp beaklike jaw. 

Ammonites lived during the periods of Earth history known as the Jurassic and Cretaceous, and disappeared at about the same time as the dinosaurs. Their closest modern relatives are the octopus and the squid.

The curled shell, which looks something like the horns of a ram, inspired the ammonite’s name. When these fossils were first discovered, in ancient times, they were named after the Egyptian god Ammon (or Amun), who was usually drawn with rams’ horns on his head.


Photo: SWNS

Graphic: MMVII NGHT, Inc.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Marine Life, Fossils   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 11, 2010

If your family lives (or is planning a summer vacation) anywhere near a desert, we recommend taking a drive with an excellent book called DISCOVER THE DESERT: THE DRIEST PLACE ON EARTH in hand.

Part narrative, part workbook, this volume is chock full of interesting information designed to capture the interest of all different types of kids, through whatever lens they like to view the natural world. Every two-page spread includes multiple illustrations and diagrams, at least one "Fascinating Fact" box, and a sidebar called "Words to Know," which defines vocabulary words used on the page.

And the facts are indeed fascinating. Did you know that paleontologists have found remains of ancient whales in Egypt and penguins as big as a man in Peru….excavated from what is now desert?! Chapter 5 deals with how people dress to live in the desert, and the reader learns that Mongolians wear boots with upturned toes - a Tibetan Buddhist custom designed to avoid hurting the earth. I just tried making Labneh (a yogurt cheese spread often served with olive oil on pita bread) from a recipe that I found in the chapter on What Native Desert Peoples Eat and Drink. Delicious!

There is also an invaluable chapter called Desert Dangers and How to Avoid Them. This section includes navigation techniques from the ancient "shadow tip method" to the modern GPS, cautions about dangerous weather, plants and poisonous animals, and is designed to help explorers show respect for the desert, as well as keep them safe.

Page after page of this practical book is chock full of science, cultural and vocabulary information that will turn a desert trip into a rich learning experience, as well as a fascinating family adventure.

DISCOVER THE DESERT: THE DRIEST PLACE ON EARTH. Written by Kathy Ceceri, Illustrated by Samuel Carbaugh, published by Nomad Press, 2009 (ISBN978-1-9346704-6-0, $16,95, ages 8 and up). The author has also created a Crafts for Learning website, which features many activities and topis for kids who like History, Math, Art, Science. Check it out - there are a lot of rich resources here.


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Summer Vacation Science, Fossils, Desert   •  Permalink (link to this article)