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paleontology

This collection contains a selection of content from NG Education about paleontology. Use search to find more.

Ida (pronounced EE-duh) is the only fossil of the species Darwinius masillae, a primate that lived about 47 million years ago. Ida is the most complete primate fossil ever discovered—only her left rear leg is missing. Ida shares characteristics with both "wet-nosed" primates, such as lemurs and lorises, and "dry-nosed" primates, such as monkeys, apes . . . and human beings.

Illustration courtesy Esther van Hulsen

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Blue Holes: Being an Explorer
Lesson
EDUCATION

Blue Holes: Being an Explorer

This series of activities takes students through a process from defining exploration to planning, carrying out, and communicating the outcomes of a micro-expedition.

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
Plan and Prepare for an Expedition
Activity
EDUCATION

Plan and Prepare for an Expedition

Students envision the planning and preparation needed for an expedition to a remote and dangerous site. Then they determine the actual preparation from a video about an expedition to the site. They plan their own “micro-expedition,” including a research question they want to answer, and ...

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: blue holes , cave diving, curiosity, expeditions, exploration, micro-expedition, oceans, paleontology, planning
Nizar Ibrahim: Spinosaurus
Article
EDUCATION

Nizar Ibrahim: Spinosaurus

Use this collection of resources to engage students before and after a National Geographic student matinee.  

  • Best for: Grades 2-5 (ages 7-11)
  • Concepts: adventure, africa, dinosaurs, explorers, geography, geology, history, morocco, ng live, nizar ibrahim, paleontology, role models, science, spinosaurus, student matinees
Happy Birthday, Mary Anning
Historic Article
EDUCATION

Happy Birthday, Mary Anning

On May 21, 1799, the “princess of paleontology,” Mary Anning, was born in Lyme Regis, Dorset, England.

  • Best for: Grades 3-12 (ages 8-18)
  • Concepts: dinosaurs, england, fossils, mary anning, paleontology, pterosaurs, women
Quetzalcoatlus
Photo
EDUCATION

Quetzalcoatlus

Quetzalcoatlus in flight

  • Concepts: flying monsters, paleontology, pterosaurs, quetzalcoatlus
'Lucy' Discovered in Africa
Historic Article
EDUCATION

'Lucy' Discovered in Africa

On November 24, 1974, fossils of one of the oldest known human ancestors, an Australopithecus afarensis specimen nicknamed “Lucy,” were discovered in Hadar, Ethiopia.

  • Best for: Grades 6-12 (ages 11-18)
  • Concepts: anthropology, ethiopia, fossils, hominins, lucy, paleontology
Skull of New Hominid Discovered
Historic Article
EDUCATION

Skull of New Hominid Discovered

On July 17, 1959, British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey discovered a skull from an ancient hominid species, Paranthropus boisei, or “southern ape.”

  • Best for: Grades 6-12 (ages 11-18)
  • Concepts: australopithecus boisei, fossils, hominins, mary leakey, olduvai gorge, paleontology, tanzania
Largest T. Rex Discovered
Historic Article
EDUCATION

Largest T. Rex Discovered

On August 12, 1990, amateur paleontologist Susan Hendrickson unearthed the first three fossilized bones of what would turn out to be the largest, oldest, and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.

  • Best for: Grades 6-12 (ages 11-18)
  • Concepts: dinosaurs, discoveries, faith south dakota, fossils, paleontology, sue, tyrannosaurus rex
Chicxulub Impact Crater
Photo
EDUCATION

Chicxulub Impact Crater

Illustration: Yucatan Peninsula.

  • Concepts: craters, gulf of mexico, landscape, mexico, paleontology, yucatán peninsula
fossil
Article
EDUCATION

fossil

Fossils are the preserved remains, or traces of remains, of ancient animals and plants

  • Best for: Grades 3-8 (ages 8-14)
  • Concepts: fossils, history, paleontology, preservation, remains
Ice Coring
Photo
EDUCATION

Ice Coring

Photo: Man cuts cores out of ice in an ice cave.

  • Concepts: antarctica, atmosphere, climatology, glaciers, ice, science
Bog Excavation
Photo
EDUCATION

Bog Excavation

Photo: Students probe bog for mammoth remains near Rawlins, Wyoming.

  • Concepts: excavations, paleontology
Dinosaur Burrow
Article
EDUCATION

Dinosaur Burrow

Dig up data on Oryctodromeus, a burrowing dinosaur from Big Sky Country.

  • Best for: Grades 2-10 (ages 7-16)
  • Concepts: burrows, dinosaurs, habitats, montana, paleontology
Case Study: Koobi Fora Research Project
Article
EDUCATION

Case Study: Koobi Fora Research Project

A case study that illustrates the Koobi Fora Research Project’s amazing finds in the field of paleontology.

  • Best for: Grades 6+ (ages 11+)
  • Concepts: africa, basins, case studies, field work, fossils, human origins, koobi fora research project, lake turkana, meave leakey, paleontology
Paleogeography of Lake Turkana
Article
EDUCATION

Paleogeography of Lake Turkana

Lake Turkana in Kenya has only been around for the past 200,000 years, but the expanding and receding shores of the lake have provided food and water to organisms for millions of years. Today, scientists study the stratigraphy of the Turkana basin to better understand the age of fossils discovered t...

  • Best for: Grades 5+ (ages 10+)
  • Concepts: africa, climate, flood plains, fossils, geology, kenya, lakes, lake turkana, maps, paleontology, rivers, sedimentology, stratigraphy, volcanoes
Hominin History
Article
EDUCATION

Hominin History

Fossilized remains of extinct hominin species have been found in parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia, many dating back millions of years.

  • Best for: Grades 9+ (ages 14+)
  • Concepts: africa, ancestry, anthropology, archaeology, evolution, extinction, fossils, geostories, hominins, maps, paleontology
Genetic Markers: Connecting the Dots
Activity
EDUCATION

Genetic Markers: Connecting the Dots

Students simulate the passing on of genetic markers and make connections to ancient human migration routes.

  • Best for: Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18)
  • Concepts: dna, genetic markers, genographic project, human migration, spencer wells
Paleontologist: Dr. Meave Leakey
Article
EDUCATION

Paleontologist: Dr. Meave Leakey

A profile of Meave Leakey, famed paleontologist and Director of Plio-Pleistocene research for the Turkana Basin Institute

  • Best for: Grades 5+ (ages 10+)
  • Concepts: africa, anthropology, basins, explorers, explorers-in-residence, field work, fossils, kenya, meave leakey, paleontology, real-world geography, turkana basin institute
Base Camp
Article
EDUCATION

Base Camp

A look into the Turkana Basin Institute's current projects as well as why the facilities are so important to scientists and researchers.

  • Best for: Grades 5+ (ages 10+)
  • Concepts: africa, anthropology, fossils, international organizations, kenya, lake turkana, paleontology, richard leakey, turkana basin institute
Paleontologist: Dr. Fredrick Kyalo Manthi
Article
EDUCATION

Paleontologist: Dr. Fredrick Kyalo Manthi

Dr. Fredrick Manthi is a paleontologist who works at the National Museums of Kenya and with the Turkana Basin Institute.

  • Best for: Grades 6+ (ages 11+)
  • Concepts: africa, fossils, fredrick manthi, kenya, museums, paleontology, real-world geography, turkana basin institute
Paleontologist: Dr. Louise Leakey
Article
EDUCATION

Paleontologist: Dr. Louise Leakey

A profile of Louise Leakey, famed paleontologist and the director of public education and outreach for the Turkana Basin Institute.

  • Best for: Grades 5+ (ages 10+)
  • Concepts: africa, evolution, explorers, explorers-in-residence, field work, kenya, louise leakey, paleontology, turkana basin institute
Now and Then
Article
EDUCATION

Now and Then

Coloring Page. Download, print, and color illustrations of ocean animals and the scientists that study them.

  • Best for: Grades 5 and under (ages 11 and under)
  • Concepts: coloring pages, cretaceous period, paleontology, prehistoric, sea monsters
On a Dig
Article
EDUCATION

On a Dig

Coloring Page. Download, print, and color illustrations of ocean animals and the scientists that study them.

  • Best for: Grades 5 and under (ages 11 and under)
  • Concepts: coloring pages, cretaceous period, paleontology, prehistoric, sea monsters
Sea Monster Island
Article
EDUCATION

Sea Monster Island

Video. Far north of the Arctic Circle, emerging explorer Jørn Hurum coaxes the secrets of evolution from a rocky polar desert with a treasure trove of fossils, including sea monsters of the Jurassic era.

  • Best for: Grades 6+ (ages 11+)
  • Concepts: explorers symposium, fossils, jorn hurum, marine reptiles, paleontology, reptiles, sea monsters
Flapling Fossil
Article
EDUCATION

Flapling Fossil

Fast facts about pterodactyls.

  • Best for: Grades 3+ (ages 8+)
  • Concepts: fossils, jurassic, paleontology, pterodactyls, pterosaurs, reptiles