Fossils: Clues to the Past

Based in both biology and geology, paleontology is the study of fossils—evidence of ancient life preserved in rocks. Paleontologists tackle questions like

  • How has life changed and evolved through time?
  • Where do today's plants and animals come from?
  • What did ancient plants and animals look like?
  • What causes species to disappear or go extinct?
  • How has the environment changed through time?

Understanding the past is a key to understanding the present and future impacts of environmental change to life on Earth, including ourselves.

We invite you to explore the Paleontology Hall and the exhibit Fossils: Clues to the Past to see how fossils are studied and what things can be learned from them.

In this exhibit you can

  • Touch petrified woods, giant fossil clams, and a dinosaur footprint
  • See a Pteranodon, false saber-toothed cats (nimravids), dinosaur skulls, marine reptiles, and other prehistoric animals
  • Explore a hands-on Discovery Cart with touchable fossils, books, and activity backpacks for kids
  • Find out about the different types of fossils and how fossils form
  • See delicate plant and insect fossils preserved in 34-million-year-old shale
  • Learn how paleontologists use fossils to learn about the ecology and climate of the past
  • Learn about the geology of Boulder

To learn more about the geology and paleontology of Colorado, try these great websites: