Name:  _____________________________________________________Date:  __________ ABC# __________

Getting Into the Fossil Record Webquest

“Let’s take a journey. A journey deep into the past. A voyage of discovery into the .... fossil record”
(imagine this being read in a very deep, dramatic voice with an English accent. The “....” represent a dramatic pause)

Visit this site to begin:

1.      What is the origin of the word “fossil”? What does it mean? What is the minimum age of a true fossil?  fossil?

2.      List 2 questions that fossils can help us answer:



3.      What are some of the things that can make up a fossil?  Are fossils always related to animals?

4.      What structures can be seen on the articulated skeleton of the ancient amphibian’s body?

5.      List 4 types of traces that may be preserved in the fossil record:

6.      Give an example of a fossil that is both a trace fossil and a body fossil. (Explain which part is which)

7.      How are most fossils formed?

8.      How are sediments formed?  Explain what abiotic factors are involved. Use the word “abiotic” in your answer and include its definition in ( ) next to the word (Use to find a definition)

9.      What happens to the sediment as layers accumulate?

10.  Organism or their traces are most likely to become fossilized if it
a)  gets buried quickly or     b) gets buried slowly(circle one). Explain your answer.


11.  What are some of the destructive forces that might be that would prevent a dead organism from fossilizing?  Discus abiotic and biotic forces in your answer.


Visit:  Stories from the fossil record and click “Geologic Time”
“Let's look at some fossils that provide some clues to past events” (imagine this being said in a perky, melodic voice)

12.  Look at the image of a mountain.  What does each layer of rock represent?

13.  Where are the oldest rocks found and where are the youngest rocks?


15.  Older fossils are found in layers of rock _____________ the layers where more recent fossils are found.

16.  How can fossils help us date the age of rocks?

Fossil Species

Time period the organisms lived







17.  Complete the following chart:


18.  What is an “INDEX FOSSIL”?

Name:  _____________________________________________________Date:  __________ ABC# __________

19.  What do fossils of the Venericardia planicosta tell us about the age of the rocks they are found in?


20.  What is an “uplift event” and how does it explain the fact that ocean living organisms are found at the top of some mountains?


21.  What organism is found at the top of Mt. Diablo? When did they live?

22.  What type of organism was Glossopteris? When did it live?

23.  Explain how fossils provide evidence that the continents have moved.  Use Glossopteris as an example. Where and when did Glossopteris originally live? How did it later wind up on different continents?

24.  Keep reading and take the quiz. Write a sentence that gives the correct answer to each question:

Question #

CORRECT ANSWER (in a complete sentence)













What’s your score?  Be honest.
(imagine this being said in a very deep serious tone of voice by someone making direct eye contact with you)
____ out of 6 correct on the first try. 

Congratulations!  Great Job!  Let’s go to a new website and .... learn even more!!
 (imagine this being said in a very perky, overly melodic voice)

Visit the LIFE has a history website  (University of California Museum of Paleontology)

Answer the following questions as you navigate through Life Has A History.

1. Of the 30 million species of living things estimated to exist today, how many of them are not animals?

2. Find the timeline. How many millions of years did dinosaurs exist on Earth before they became extinct?

3. Name at least five things other than bones that can be preserved as fossils.

4. Explain what divergence is.

5. In your own words, describe what cladograms represent.

6. What types of evidence are used to determine evolutionary relationships?

7. In your own words, explain how Geospiza Fortis is a good example of natural selection.

8. Describe two other mechanisms for evolution in addition to natural selection.

9. Give an example of an animal that has gone extinct because of human influence and explain what happened.

Evolution of Flight: