Last month, CNN and National Geographic reported on a 47-million-year-old fossil discovered in the Messel Pit in Germany, in 1983. The fossil, described as small-cat sized, was of something that has been pinpointed as a predecessor of humans and primates, an animal they've determined would have grown to the size of a lemur. Though the initial discovery happened more than two decades ago, the fossil has been privately held. Last month's report in PLosOne followed two years of intensive forensics study on the primate fossil led by Dr. Jorn Hurum, Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo.
For many students, two years of intensive analysis may sound like a long time to study a set of bones. These bones, of course, are 47-million years old, and the circumstances of their discovery initially masked the fact that the fossil represents a critical splitting point in the evolutionary chain.
To introduce classes and students with a paleontology, genomics, or forensics bent to the concepts and processes involved in evaluating such fossils, check out these Science Buddies science fair project ideas:
- Get Some Practice at 'Fossil' Reconstruction with Owl Pellets (Science Buddies' difficulty level: 6)
- BLAST into the Past to Identify T. Rex's Closest Living Relative (Science Buddies' difficulty level: 8)
You Might Also Enjoy These Related Posts:
- Plastic Pollution and World Oceans Day
- Real-world Blood Typing and the Value of Blood Donation
- Laurel vs. Yanny and Student STEM
- Classroom Science for Flu Season
- Critical Water Shortage in South Africa
- Gear Up for the August 2017 Solar Eclipse
- Chocolate Covered Candy Geodes
- Stay Up for the Perseid Meteor Shower
Explore Our Science Videos
4 Easy Robot Science Projects for Kids
10 Robotics Projects Kids Can Really Make!
Toy Sailboat with Keel