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Natural sciences

The earth and beyond


Educator section


Assignment 8:

Identification of fossils

1. Coral

2. Found in rock layers near Ceres in the Western Cape. These corals were formed in the sea approximately 400 million years ago.

3. Cycad family

4. Grows well in any moist, sheltered area.

5. Very high temperatures


Earth movement that caused water to drain away

Over-utilisation of nature, etc.

6. In the deeper rocks

Leaner section


Activity: to talk about the reconstruction, identification and conservation of fossils [lo 1.2, lo 2.3]


  • Some dinosaur fossils are discovered accidentally when layers of rock in valleys, precipices and desert hills are revealed by means of erosion after millions of years. Sometimes mineworkers or road builders may uncover such layers.
  • When a palaeontologist finds a fossil, the location is recorded very carefully. Each scattered bone is numbered. Then loose-lying bones are gathered and taken away to be studied. Bones embedded in rocks are removed with extreme care. Sometimes surrounding rocks are shovelled away, but when the fossilised bones are exposed, palaeontologists use chisels, hammers and drills. As soon as the upper half of a fossil is exposed, it is covered with damp paper. It is then wrapped in bandages soaked in plaster of Paris. This hardens and forms a protective shell over the fossil. The surrounding soil is then scraped away and the fossil is turned over, so that the remaining half of the fossil can be treated in the same way. When the whole fossil is completely covered with a protective shell, it is carefully transported to a museum.
  • At the museum, the protective shell is removed and the remaining rock is chiselled off the fossil. This process may take years and bones sometimes have to be reinforced with plastic because it begins to crumble. The exact position of each bone is determined before the fossil is reassembled. Sometimes wires, rods and structures of steel are used in the reconstruction of a fossil. Missing parts are built up or obtained from other fossils. If this reconstruction is not done, we would not have known what dinosaurs really looked like.



  • Study the following representations of fossils and answer the questions:

1. What is this fossil called nowadays?


2. Where do we normally find this fossil in colonies?



3. Which tree family above shows a resemblance with this fossilised leaf?


4. Centuries ago, this was only found in tropical forests. Where can it be found today?





5. The above picture represents a fossilised Gosiutichthys (a fish). The fish died when the lake in which it lived dried up. Supply three possible reasons for the drying up of a lake.





6. It is important to be able to determine the age of fossils. This can be done by different means. Sometimes scientists compare the amount of gas in a rock sample with the amount of lime in the original rock to determine the age of the fossil.

The age of fossils can also be determined by means of radioactivity.

Where would we find the oldest fossils - in shallower or in deeper layers of rock?



  • Fossils can also be conserved in moulds. When a portion of bone has become petrified in a hard rock formation, it can be eroded but leaves an exact imprint in the rock. Such an imprint is known as a casting mould.


Making a casting mould of your hand.


a tray of wet sand;

a strip of cardboard (5 cm x 38 cm);

Plaster of Paris;




  • Flatten the sand and press your hand on it firmly enough to leave an imprint.
  • Position the cardboard strip around the imprint and secure the ends with a paper clip.
  • The strip of cardboard should be pushed into the sand to form a raised edge around the imprint.
  • Mix sufficient Plaster of Paris to fill the cardboard to just below the rim.
  • Allow the plaster to set and dry.
  • Remove the strip of cardboard and lift the plaster of Paris off the sand.

Assessment Criteria 1. 2. 3. 4.
1. Knowledge and understanding of fossils (LO 2.3)
2. Experiment (LO 1.2): Instructions followed.
3. Finish: precise
4. Cooperation within group


Learning Outcome 1: The learner will be able to act confidently on curiosity about natural phenomena, and to investigate relationships and solve problems in scientific, technological and environmental contexts.

Assessment Standard 1.2: We know this when the learner conducts investigations and collects data.

Learning Outcome 2: The learner will know and be able to interpret and apply scientific, technological and environmental knowledge.

Assessment Standard 2.3: We know this when the learner categorises information.

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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Source:  OpenStax, Natural sciences grade 6. OpenStax CNX. Sep 16, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11079/1.1
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