The worksheets in this set looks at how fossils are used as tool to understand past life on Earth.

When a living thing dies, it usually decays (disappears). Many times though, dead organic life will be captured in a substance that preserves it. When this happens in a substance that can hold it for hundred and even thousands of years, we refer to it as a fossil. The word "fossil" even means "dug up". Studying fossils help us understand past life. Some fossils can also be just evidence of past life, like a preserved footprint or an egg. When we put a bunch of fossils together we can get a pretty good idea of what life was like in early times. The oldest fossil that we have uncovered is about 3.8 billion years old. The hard body parts (skeletal remains) are most likely to be well-preserved as a fossil. This means creatures that lack a spine are rarely found in this form. When we take into account the collective number of preserved living things that we find and carbon date them to determine how old they are, we can get a pretty good picture of what life was roughly like at each time period.

The worksheets spend a good deal of time on the fossil record over time periods and how fossils are used as a tool to understand evolution. These worksheets help students understand how to look back in time through the use of the fossil record. It helps them understand the evidence that exists to understand the possibility of the evolution of species. We encourage them to create their own questions and conclusions.

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Print Fossils Worksheets

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Evidence For Evolution

For the statements below, write the letter of the type of evidence above this best matches. Five types of evidence for evolution are comparative embryology, homologous morphological structures, fossils, vestigial organs, and biochemical homologies.

The Record

Label fossil layers by age. Number the oldest layer 1. Write a 2 on the next oldest layer and so on. What layer would contain the most recent animal and plant remains? Why?

Layers Chart

Pieces of rock broke off of the ledge below. Within the pieces of rock various fossils were found. Match the key to what you have found.

Fossil Layers Question Sheet

Name two fossils that are younger than the dinosaur Skull. Which was the oldest and youngest based on their layered position. We can also compare this to the fish skeleton.

Layers Graphic Organizer

Cut out all the fossils from page 1. Paste the in order of age below.