Discover What You Have
Once you have found a fossil, the detective work is not over. Paleontologists use living things for comparison to help them discover the identity of fossil material. They also draw upon the work of others as they interpret the fossil evidence. Keeping a notebook is very important. Write down where you found your fossil and what type of rock it was found in. Remember, fossils are like words in a book, and the rock layers are the pages.
Fossil bones from an extinct sea cow on exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Clue #6: Dig into a fossil field guide. A good book may prove very helpful when identifying your fossil. (see Explore More for recommendations).
Clue #7: Visit a museum and compare your find to fossils, skeletons, or other objects on exhibit.
Clue #8:Talk to a paleontologist at a museum or university. Perhaps they'll learn something from you!
If you find something really unique, tell somebody: your parents, science teacher, librarian, or a paleontologist. Recently, a three-year old boy uncovered the first dinosaur egg fragments to be found in New Mexico. Now, they are in a museum where they can be studied and appreciated by people now and in the future.