History written in stone

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 June, 2007, 12:00am


Use these words: palaeontologists, Earth, prehistoric

Fossils are the stone-like remains from plants and animals living in __________________ times. In the hands of __________________ , fossils can tell us what the __________________ was like millions of years ago.


Scientists have found hundreds of fish, plant, mollusc, and other fossils at Wong Shuk Kok Tsui, Plover Cove Country Park.

Rocks in this area date back to the Devonian Period (408 to 360 million years ago). This period is called the Age of Fishes, but it is also the time when the first amphibians and forests appeared.

Ma Shi Chau, a small island in Tolo Harbour, is also rich in fossils. Rocks here date back to the Permian Period (280 to 248 million years ago). This period is known as the Age of Amphibians, but many new reptiles also appeared during this time.

Can you match these periods with their descriptions? (MYA stands for 'million years ago')

1. Devonian, 408 to 360 MYA

2. Carboniferous, 360 to 280 MYA

3. Permian, 280 to 248 MYA

4. Triassic, 248 to 208 MYA

5. Jurassic, 208 to 146 MYA

6. Cretaceous, 146 to 65 MYA

7. Cenozoic Era, 65 MYA to today

a. Age of reptiles; first mammals

b. Age of reptiles; first flowering plants

c. Age of fishes; first amphibians

d. First reptiles and seed-bearing plants

e. Age of mammals; first human

f. Age of aphibians

g. Age of reptiles; first birds


Can you match these famous palaeontologists to their pictures?




1. Sue Hendrickson (1949 -) who found Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil skeleton.

2. Mary Anning (1799 - 1847) who found the first Plesiosaur, Ichthyosaurus, and Pterodactylus fossils.

3. Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882) who suggested the theory of evolution.


Fossil talk

1. Someone who is an old fossil is ...

2. When your computer is a dinosaur, it is ...

3. If you dig up the dirt on someone, you ...

4. Digging a hole for yourself means ...

a. are finding damaging information.

b. extremely old or old-fashioned.

c. putting yourself into a bad situation.

d. an old person who won't accept new ideas.


Did you know?

Some fossils started as remains buried under earth and water. Over time, each cell of soft organic material was replaced by a hard mineral, turning the leftovers into stone.

Traces such as footprints were fossilised when covered with softer material that turned slowly into rock.

Fossils were also created when creatures and plants were trapped in sticky tree resin.

Bones of bigger creatures such as sabre-toothed tigers were preserved in tar pits and quicksand.

Early writers like Chang Qu believed the huge fossilised bones found in Wucheng, Sichuan , 2000 years ago were dragon bones.

Find out more about fossils at www.fossils-facts-and-finds.com


A. prehistoric, palaeontologists, Earth

B. 1. c, 2. d, 3. f, 4. a, 5. g, 6. b, 7. e

C. 1. c, 2. b, 3. a

D. 1. d, 2. b, 3. a, 4. c