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HOW HAVE ANIMALS IMPACTED GEOLOGY?

How have animals impacted geology? For starters, we can consider the fact that soils are composed of many different kinds of particles. Those particles include animals'
excrement and remains. The travels of animals carried soil particles (and seeds) from one place to another. The areas where animals congregated were often heavily compacted by their activity.

Animals, such as dinosaurs, once lived and walked on earth, but are now extinct. How do we know about them anyway? Fossils! Everything that ever was has left some kind of mark on (or in) the earth.

In addition to fossils of their bones, fossils of the footprints of extinct animals are sometimes found. Much surprising information can be gleaned from studying fossils.
From the distance between footprint fossils, paleontologists can tell if the animal had long or short legs, if it was running or just walking along. From the depth of the
footprint fossil, the approximate weight of the animal can be determined. The possibilities for research are endless!

Try to "capture" footprints of animals by setting up tracking areas with smooth patches of mud, sand, or flour dust. Check these areas each morning to see what animals have traveled across them. Try to identify the animal by its footprint.

If a good footprint has been left in the mud, place a cardboard hoop or a wooden frame around it. Pour plaster of Paris in the print and over the inside of the hoop. When the plaster hardens, students will have a fossil-like image of the footprint.

Many footprint fossils have been found where there were water-holes where the animals gathered. The animals trampled the earth, mixed it with the water and their excrement, and went on to the next place. The periphery of water-holes was covered with footprints.

Footprints of prehistoric animals remain today because the impressions made by their feet were filled with materials that hardened like the plaster. You might be interested in researching information on dinosaurs.

Similarly, leaves, insects, feathers, virtually any kind of plant or animal material can be pressed into clay, and plaster then poured into the mold to represent a way that fossils might have been preserved.

 
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