Remnants of Ancient Life review: Explore the palaeobiology revolution

A view of one part of the Paleontology collection in the Musuem of Natural History, arranged by the addition of representative specimens from other parts of the three floors of fossils in the East Wing.

The palaeontology collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

chip clark/museum of natural history

Remnants of Ancient Life

Dale Greenwalt (Princeton University Press)

WHAT is a fossil made of? Mineralised rocky fossils are what first spring to mind, but others, like the fossils of the Burgess Shale in Canada, are made of pure carbon and can be thought of as proto-coal. There are also tantalising Cretaceous insects preserved in amber.

Whatever they are made of, fossils contain treasures. The first really good microscopic study of mineralised dinosaur bone was able to reveal its …

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