Science 3: Fossil Hunters

Peeking through the bushes, spotting their prey, stalking, trailing, and then leaping viciously onto...a rock? Okay so these people don't really hunt fossils, but they do a great job of finding them. Today's video is about fossil hunters.

3rd GradeScience
Elementary and Middle School3rd Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:25

The fossil hunter!! [Boy staring at a fossil]

00:27

Okay…maybe it's not the most exciting of all the hunters, but it has its moments!

00:30

A fossil hunter's goal is to, well …find…fossils.

00:34

Okay so it's not so much hunting as it is locating, but that's the word they're going with. [Person staring at fossil and fossil explodes]

00:39

Fossil locater just doesn't have the same air of mystery…

00:42

And realistically, whether it's dinosaur bones, an entire skeleton, or any other sort of evidence

00:47

of life from long, long ago, they're interested in finding it.

00:50

Fossil hunters come from all walks of life, and don't even need to be professionally-trained. [Fossil hunters together in a room]

00:55

Pick up a shovel, smear on the sunscreen, head out into the wilderness, and boom!

00:59

Instant fossil hunter!

01:00

Of course, it would help to have a general understanding of where you might want to look. [Girl reading a fossil hunting book]

01:04

Your parents' backyard probably isn't the best place to start…and they'll probably

01:07

be mad if you dig up the lawn. [Girl digs up lawn and parents appear]

01:09

Instead you should probably do a little research into dig sites and places you might be allowed

01:13

to dig.

01:14

Then you can get a-shovelin'.

01:16

No guarantees you'll actually find anything, but hey, at least it's good exercise! [Girl digs into the ground]

01:20

Once a fossil hunter actually does find a fossil, the first thing that must be done

01:25

is to determine whether or not the fossil really is, in fact, a fossil. [Person uses magnifying glass to inspect a fossil]

01:28

And that means calling in a true expert––a paleontologist – that's a scientist that

01:33

studies fossils.

01:34

The reason it's important to do this first is because a lot of the time, what looks to

01:38

be a fossil might just be a rock, or a really old baseball, or some weird paper-machie project

01:44

that got covered in a bunch of dirt and twigs. [Papermache project with dirt and twigs in a lab]

01:46

But if it is a real fossil, a paleontologist will know how to proceed next.

01:51

They'll probably call in special diggers called excavators, complete with special digging

01:54

tools, to carefully remove the fossils without harming them. [Coop discussing excavators]

01:58

And depending on the size of the fossil – y'know, if it's a complete T-Rex skeleton or something

02:02

– this could take a pretty long time. [Sloths digging up fossils and man waits]

02:04

Once a fossil is completely dug up, it must be carefully moved to a museum to be studied.

02:09

Naturally, bones that are millions of years old tend be pretty fragile, so things can [Man carrying a box of dinosaur bones]

02:13

get pretty tense while they're being moved around.

02:16

Once the bones are safely at the museum, they're handed over to experts who assemble them as

02:20

best they can in order to make them look like they were originally arranged. [Man assembles bones together]

02:24

In the case of a complete dinosaur skeleton, it can look pretty impressive.

02:29

And in the case of a just a single stray bone, well, it looks a little bit less impressive,

02:33

but we're sure your dog will appreciate it! [Dog snatches a bone from museum]